Cultivating sustainable landscapes: The impact of the SITES Community Partner network

Published on
11 Jan 2024
Sumner Byrne
An arboreal public space with walkways of varying types.

Feature image credit: TOKYO TORCH: Tokiwabashi Tower Site. Photo courtesy of Woonerf Inc.

The SITES Community Partner network comprises a diverse group of more than 70 organizations and individuals committed to advancing healthy ecosystems through high-performance landscapes. These partners play a pivotal role in building awareness and driving the adoption of sustainable practices within their respective communities. While these organizations cover multiple disciplines, they share a common tool in their work fostering healthy ecosystems: SITES certification.

SITES provides a comprehensive framework for designing, developing and managing sustainable and resilient landscapes and other outdoor spaces. The ideal tool to support nature-positive design, SITES certification has a track record that's earned it an important place in the rapidly evolving ESG reporting world as a standard of leading commitment.

SITES Community Partners are dedicated to developing landscapes that ecologically thrive while enriching the lives of those who inhabit them. Does your organization use SITES to pursue biodiversity and healthy ecosystem development? Consider joining the network.

A logo that says Sustainable SItes Initiative Community Partner

Community Partners using SITES

Learn more about some of the Community Partners using SITES across multiple disciplines, in their own words:

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department has been the steward of the City of Austin’s public lands since 1928. As such, we protect and maintain parkland and our urban forest. We preserve trails and offer a variety of sports, recreation, educational enrichment, arts programs, cultural opportunities, nature and aquatic activities.

The vision of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department is to be an innovative leader in parks and recreation experiences. Our mission is to inspire Austin to learn, play, protect and connect by creating diverse programs and experiences in sustainable natural spaces and public places.

Austin is the first city in the world to adopt the SITES rating system into city policy.

One recent project is the 13-acre Kingsbury Commons, delivered in partnership with the Pease Park Conservancy, a fellow SITES Community Partner. It became the first SITES Gold park in Texas certified under SITES v2 during its 2021 revitalization effort.

Woonerf Inc.

Woonerf Inc. is a leading sustainability consulting firm in Japan that helps clients improve their environmental performance, occupants' well-being and public awareness of ESG compliance while securing economic benefits. Woonerf’s team of SITES Accredited Professionals provides comprehensive, expert support for clients to ensure that projects achieve SITES certification.

Woonerf has led the SITES certification of multiple locations across Japan, including TOKYO TORCH: Tokiwabashi Tower Site in Tokyo and Daiwa House Group MIRAI KACHI KYOSO Center in Nara.

Design Workshop

As an international design studio, we’ve learned the value of building community across cultures, geographies and economies. Whether designing a restorative private garden, reimagining an underperforming downtown center or developing the vision for a contemporary park within a fragile ecosystem, we are committed to more than design in the conventional sense.

We do what we do to make a difference for future generations. Our methodology ensures every project has a balance between environmental sensitivity, community connection, artistry and economic viability. This performance-based approach yields measurable results and projects that stand the test of time. In other words, we don’t just hope for sustainable projects; we rely on our process to deliver them.

SITES has been a compelling and efficient framework to help clients understand how to plan and execute a project that can be a model, sustainable project. Design Workshop worked on the SITES Silver Midtown Park in Dallas.

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin, founded in 1883, ranks among the 40 best universities in the world. It supports some 51,000 diverse students with top national programs across 18 colleges and schools. UT Austin was involved in the initial development of the SITES framework and remains committed to being a leader in developing healthy landscapex for people and the planet.

We achieved the first SITES Gold landscape in Texas in 2017 within the new Dell Medical District.

Is your organization ready to join our network of SITES Community Partners? Join us.

Apply to become a SITES Community Partner