What are Eco-Functioning Spaces®?
Eco-Functioning Spaces® (EFS) are living systems that are specifically designed to use or replicate pre-existing ecosystems in sub/urban areas for the environmental, economic and social benefit of urban communities. These Eco-Functioning Spaces, when designed and used as recommended, spin off valuable ecosystem services, and UER works with owners to create and link these benefits to urban development sites in ways that add value and/or reduce costs for the site on which they are located, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods or urban districts in which they sit.
Eco-Functioning Spaces may start out as existing natural areas (e.g. forests, forest fragments, wildflower meadows), or they may be created on previously built, impervious, or otherwise degraded areas. Either way, UER assists owners in creating, maintaining, and programming Eco-Functioning Spaces in ways that intentionally produce and use valuable ecosystem services for the benefit of on-site or nearby urban developments (whether commercial, residential, mixed-use, retail, or hospitality).
Eco-Functioning Spaces are designed so the valuable ecological functions they perform will increase as the living systems themselves grow and expand over time. With the help of UER, this growth produces environmental, economic, and social benefits for their owners, site users, and the surrounding communities.
The ecological functions produced by every Eco-Functioning Space are, at a minimum, those that human-beings need for survival, health, and wellness, and Eco-Functioning Spaces often reduce the need for costly gray infrastructure or similarly engineered alternatives. These functions are:
- Stormwater management/water retention & filtration (clean and recharge our water),
- Greenhouse gas sequestration and air filtration (clean our air),
- Decomposition/composting (reduce waste streams and restore nutrient cycling),
- The provision of native habitats that support naturally-occurring food webs (promote food production and allow for recovery of biodiversity), and
- Land and water temperature modulation that enables the growth of various native plant and animal communities (control temperature extremes and cool surrounding areas).
For the specific metrics we are piloting to assess what makes a space an "Eco-Functioning Space," view our measurement criteria and related requirements here.
Working together to transform urban spaces into Eco-Functioning Spaces, and restoring these natural functions to the area around them: that's how we make every square foot count.