Exporting Sustainability

Client: We Build Green Cities


We Build Green Cities is a group of Portland-based policy and industry teams providing insight, products and services to cities around the world that aspire to be more sustainable. The WBGC initiative is organized by The Portland Development Commission on behalf of the City of Portland to support job creation, innovation, and economic opportunities. WBGC came to Emerge looking to create a platform that would showcase their areas of specialization and highlight a wide array of services provided by a host of Portland companies.

We Build Green Cities website screenshot


One of the most important things we needed to do was to help WBGC create an experience that allowed people to more easily connect with them. They had been presenting their story as a gallery, with an emphasis on past accomplishments and the history of Portland’s transformation. Our challenge was to redesign the interface to be more useful, and to find a way to reframe their messaging so that, without losing their “past,” we could help them present themselves in a more active, forward-looking way. We wanted to create for them an experience that would be more valuable in their everyday work, especially as they connected with people around the world.

WBGC is global in nature, and it was vital to make sure this was coming across more than it had been. As part of this strategy, we encouraged them to highlight projects outside Portland and add a Japanese version of the homepage. We partnered closely with WBGC’s Japanese consultants to help us modify the design, layout and user interface so that the experience best supported their work.

In our development, we used a multilingual setup that takes into account aesthetic differences between languages. We built a responsive and multi-device-friendly experience, fully compliant with the latest accessibility standards, which features high-definition device support with vector iconography and high-resolution imagery.

We Build Green Cities website screenshot
We Build Green Cities website screenshot
We Build Green Cities website screenshot
We Build Green Cities website screenshot


As a result of a new content and technical architecture, the site has seen tremendous increases in accessibility and SEO. And it’s far more useful to potential clients, as well as WBGC employees—especially when they’re connecting with people internationally. It’s an experience that tells their story, it’s an educational tool, it’s an introduction to Portland companies and visionaries. And, most importantly, it’s a call to action and an invitation to others who want to do great things—a hand extended over the water that says, “Let’s work together.”

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