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MARC A. Weiss

Chairman & CEO, Global Urban Development (GUD)

and Coordinator, Porto Alegre Sustainable Innovation Zone (ZISPOA)


“Sustainable Innovation Zones and Inclusive Prosperity generate Climate Actions and SDG progress by enabling cities to 'get richer by becoming greener.” 

Geographical scope: 


Climate Action:

Dr. Weiss and GUD have promoted climate actions by organizing Sustainable Innovation Zones in cities globally since 2015, starting with the Porto Alegre Sustainable Innovation Zone (ZISPOA) and Santo Ângelo Creative and Sustainable Innovation Zone (ZISSAN) in Brazil, Panama City Sustainable Innovation Zone (ACTA) in Panama, and Penrith Sustainable Innovation Community in Western Sydney, Australia.

Sustainable Innovation Zones are based on combining six key elements: Innovation and Technology, Entrepreneurship and Startups, Sustainability and Resource Efficiency, Creativity and Collaboration, Participatory Community Management, and Business-Friendly Environment.  They are magnets for talent developing innovative technologies, products, and services that conserve, reuse, and renew resources more efficiently, enabling families and communities to experience Inclusive Prosperity and quality of life by earning and saving more money through thriving businesses, better jobs, and higher incomes.  Sustainable Innovation Zones foster participatory activities that help accomplish the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement, and New Urban Agenda. 


Sustainable Innovation Zones incorporate best practices of  "innovation ecosystems" and add four vital components:

1) place-based community emphasis; 2) primary purpose promoting Sustainable Innovation technologies, businesses, and talent; 3) participation by sustainability, social, and design experts and activists (in addition to entrepreneurs, technologists, and investors) and, 4) empowered by grassroots civic, community development, and citizens movements.  They also include key features of innovation districts, creative districts, ecodistricts, and transition towns. 


​ZISPOA is focused on becoming solar-powered, energy efficient, bike-friendly, and renewable technology-friendly (circular economy/zero waste) by generating a dozen startup businesses; building green neighborhood improvements including electric vehicle charging, bike-sharing, recycling/composting, sustainable parklets, and solar posts; mobilizing professors and students to transform university education and research, green campus facilities, and support Sustainable Innovation economic and business development in nearby communities; and serving as an example for other cities to replicate. 

City Changer's Videos: 

Learn more: 

  1. ZISPOA and Participatory Community Transformation.

  2. GUD in Brazil: 2019 Porto Alegre UTC in ZISPOA Highlights Progress of Sustainable Innovation Zones.

  3. GUD in Brazil: The Porto Alegre Sustainable Innovation Zone (ZISPOA) and 2017 UTC.

  4. GUD: The Porto Alegre Sustainable Innovation Zone (ZISPOA) – Two Years of Accomplishment and Progress.


  6. GUD in Brazil: The Porto Alegre Sustainable Innovation Zone (ZISPOA) and the Paralelo Vivo Sustainable Innovation Hub.


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