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Ecocities Emerging

To support humanity's transition into the Ecozoic Era

Ecocity Builders
November 2012


The Ecocity approach continues to capture the interest and attention of sustainable cities and urban issues networks and organizations around the world. We are now an associate partner of the UN Habitat's World Urban Campaign. We're on the Steering Committee of a new cities society, City Protocol(CP), which recently met in San Francisco (related articles in this edition). Ecocity Builders joined forces with the City of San Francisco's Planning Department to host a one-day conference and tour of SF's proposed ecodistricts for CP Society members, who represent cities, companies, institutions and organizations. We've been asked to help lead a City Protocol Ecodistrict Working Group, and will be facilitating the input and participation of Barcelona's Chief Architect Vicente Guallart, San Francisco's Director of Citywide Planning Jose Campos, along with other CP members and associates.


Richard Register recently returned from Nanjing China and several ecocity consulting meetings, including meetings with the Tianjin EcoCity development group and others within the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD). We are helping to advise China on their next wave of ecocity building, and we recently delivered a report on Tianjin EcoCity's progress to date and potential for future influence and success. 


In December, we'll meet with Brazil's Sustainable Cities Program  and the Latin American Network for Fair, Democratic and Sustainable Cities in Sao Paulo to discuss collaboration opportunities. Their networks are creating a grassroots demand for results and accountable governance around sustainability issues. The Brazil network has built a policy platform that outlines citizens' goals for urban sustainability backed by a set of common indicators that cities can use to see how they are doing against the targets. 


Cities in the program all agree to report regularly on how they are doing, and citizens can all see how their city measures up and how other cities in the program are performing comparatively. Elected officials have 90 days to submit a plan about how they are going to address the common goals and meet sustainability targets during their administration. Every six months they are evaluated by the public and at the end of each year they must submit a full progress report. This program was made possible by a grassroots movement that worked to establish the platform, get cities and candidates to commit, and then helped several hundred new mayors get elected on the platform, from various party affiliations. Please see the article about their recent success in this edition of the newsletter.


Ecocity Builders and the Sustainable Cities Program plan to design a collaboration format, and will share the success and lessons from Brazil at ECOCITY 10 upcoming in Nantes(2013). We intend to bridge our similar frameworks of Ecocity analysis, which will allow us to work more closely together into the future. Sustainable Cities and Ecocity Builders will then be in a position to introduce these jointly-agreed standards to other cities in their networks, especially to pilot and evaluate them within some of their medium sized and smaller cities. 


It's a great opportunity to link North and Latin American grassroots efforts and work more collaboratively on the sustainable cities front. 


As we build, so shall we live.  



signature, white  


Kirstin Miller 

Executive Director 




Keeper of the International Ecocity Conference Series 
Ecocity Builders is a non-profit organization dedicated to reshaping cities, towns and villages for long-term health of human and natural systems.

Ecocity Builders  

339 15th Street, Suite 208 
Oakland CA 94612 USA  


Thank you to our major supporters: British Columbia Institute of Technology - School of Construction and the Environment; Helen and William Mazer Foundation; Columbia Foundation; HealthBridge Canada

ecocity-2013 website

"10th International Ecocity Conference"


cover - it's climate change stupid
Bloomberg Businessweek's Cover - click on cover to link to Paul Barrett's article "Weather on Steroids Is Global Warming, Stupid"

Superstorm Sandy to America: "You should have paid attention to those climate change people."
by Richard Register, President, Ecocity Builders
Hurricane Katrina destruction. Photo: Richard Register



But even more so "you should have paid attention to those ecocity people."


Here's the scoop, our very own "news analysis," that is, what did the press say about causes and solutions to storms like Sandy, the quick-change artist?


The New York Times is usually better than most of the competition. Let's see how it was on connecting Sandy the Hurricane, aka Superstorm Sandy, when it hit New York town and took on "extratropical characteristics," as the weather wonks say.


Let's do a little "news analysis," that is, a look at the coverage itself in those pages.


Then we will look at what should have been covered and what you will hear only in these electronic pages of Ecocities Emerging, our Ecocity Builders Newsletter.



Signs of the Times


In the New York Times October 31, 2012 front page News Section, we find 17 articles totaling 11,200 words approximately. In those 17 articles two mentioned climate change, but not very thoroughly, totaling 171 words. That's 1/65th of the copy or about 1.3%. Infinitely better than our Presidential candidates anyway.


There was a lot to cover, after all: 

  • Worst flooding in 108 history of the New York subway system, some sections flooded from tracks to ceiling.
  • Highest storm surge in New York History at the Battery (southern tip of Manhattan): 13.88 feet. 
  • College testing interrupted; bad for students. 
  • Electric service out for 8 million people. 
  • Problems and opportunities for the candidates for President caused by the storm. 
  • The many unfortunate ways about 40 people (about 70 by now!) died in the storm from the Atlantic City boardwalk (destroyed) to deep inland.  
  • Thousands told to take refuge in shelters - but trick-or-treat OK Wednesday night (as I write this). 
  • Obama pledges speedy clean up. 
  • Detailed clean up actions you and the government, but mostly the government, can take. 
  • The city's founders never thought about high floods and rising seas. 
  • Fire in Queens burns 110 houses to their ironically soggy foundations. In the aptly named area called Breezy Point the inferno is fanned by wind that fire department trucks couldn't get to due to street flooding. Oddly, no speculation as to cause. This is a close as it gets: "When it began Monday evening, local fire engines were responding to other fires, or helping to rescue stranded residents..." And no more; a little incurious for the New York Times.  
  • An editorial on how, when he saw the President pop into resolute action on Storm Sandy condolences and clean up, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey suspended his Romney-friendly election campaign attacks on Mr. Obama. Then, groveling in admiration of Obama, he quickly invited him to tour New Jersey's share of the disaster with him the next day, managing to share the national presidential spotlight with him.


Here's the best of what the Times had to report on climate change, in an article headlined: "For Years, Warnings That It Could Happen Here."



hurricane sandy
This aerial photo shows destruction in the wake of superstorm Sandy on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Seaside Heights, N.J. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
In July 2012 Ecocity Builders joined a new cities network, City Protocol. You can find the description of the organization here. Cities, companies, organization and institutions are cordially invited to join. 
cp july meeting
City Protocol in Barcelona, July 2012
The City Protocol Society

If it's not transformational - it's not City Protocol!

by the City Protocol Steering Committee


Mayors and city leaders know that cities face tough times. Today we are in the middle of global economic recession. We are increasingly aware of the chronic issues of aging and mobility; and we can only expect more to come with climate change, rising energy costs, the effects of increasing densification, and security threats.  Carrying on with "business as usual" is no longer an option.


Forward-looking cities are embracing the transformation agenda. However embarking on significant change programmes is risky and it is difficult to find the evidence needed to properly evaluate options for major new initiatives.


This is where the City Protocol Society (CPS) can help.  CPS is a delivery-focused network of global cities that, in partnership with industry, research agencies and other organisations, is developing common approaches and solutions to help cities build a sustainable future.

By leveraging knowledge and experiences of real city transformations, this trusted community offers curated guidance so that cities do not have to navigate this journey alone.


How City Protocol works

The starting point for City Protocol is that every city has its own individual story of how it has got to where it is today. Every city faces its own particular mix of opportunities and threats and its own set of strengths and weaknesses.


Because of this, no city can simply copy any other city's path into the future.


However, all cities do have some things in common with some other cities. The difficulty, up until now, has been how to identify those commonalities clearly enough to allow cities to decide whom to partner with, so that genuinely common problems can be tackled together.


This is what City Protocol will enable you to do.


The City Anatomy provides a common language with which to describe the different key features of city life. The metaphor used is that of the city as a living being, with a range of interrelated systems that work together to maintain good health and, where appropriate, to enable growth. The anatomy provides cities with a common structure to describe their unique set of challenges and opportunities to each other, in a way that will help them discover what commonalities they might share.


  anatomy 1


The peer-to-peer network that is facilitated by the City Protocol Society will make it possible for cities to find other cities with whom they can work, to tackle genuinely common problems and develop solutions that will work for them all.


Task-and-finish teams. To ensure that this can happen easily, the City Protocol Society manages an open and transparent process that enables cities, supported by Industry, research agencies and all other relevant stakeholders, to tackle their common challenges in small, delivery-focused task-and-finish teams. This will not only help those cities involved to solve their own problems, but will also provide an ever growing resource of tried and tested solutions available for widespread use.


Trusted cross-sector partnerships. The City Protocol Society is a city-led organisation to ensure that the work is completely focused around the needs of cities to transform themselves to meet the immense challenges they face. However, the whole cycle of innovation can only be enabled by solid, trust-based cross-sector partnership working. It is only by bringing together the resources and strengths of all key stakeholders that cities will be able to meet the challenges they are faced with every day.


CP 1  


Genesis of an idea

In July 2012 over 200 participants, representing 33 cities, 20 major businesses, 14 universities and 20 other organisations, convened in Barcelona, Spain to learn about, discuss, and infuse life into the idea of a City Protocol Society.  After a successful assembly, an Interim Steering Committee (ISC) was created.  Meeting regularly over several months, the ISC convened again in a face to face workshop in October 2012 in San Francisco, USA to work through the components of the society. 

The official launch of the City Protocol Society at the November 2012 Smart City World Congress in Barcelona set out the roadmap for the society to be fully operational by April 2013.


Partners and Benefits

City Protocol Society assists all types of organizations to connect, learn, share, collaborate, and implement city transformation.  

It enables Cities to:

  • identify common challenges and agree to work on these pragmatically and effectively together to deliver tools, methods, pilots etc., to support wide-scale evidence-based transformation
  • link up with other cities that have common requirements and, through aggregation of demand, enable greater innovation, with faster, better, cheaper solutions created from product and service providers, who, in turn, will gain access to larger and more dependable markets.

It enables Industry, Research Bodies, Financial Institutions, and other Organisations to:  

  • work with cities in addressing their challenges and identifying the most appropriate business and financial models to gain the investment needed to enable real transformation
  • find city partners to engage in new models of business and pursue joint initiatives
  • serve as global distribution channels for existing city transformation efforts already underway.
Becoming a Partner

The City Protocol Society is open to all cities, businesses, research agencies and organizations who are working to understand and deliver change in cities throughout the world.   National chapters are being set up to mobilise a broader portfolio of organisations and address issues from a local perspective.


Visit  and sign up to get more information about how to become a partner in this global community.  


To sign up to City Protocol Society email updates, please email with "City Protocol newsletter" in the subject line.

Car Free Journey

By Steve Atlas


This month, we have a real treat! Nathan Landau: a transit planner in Northern California and author of Car Free in Los Angeles and Southern California (Wilderness Press: 2011), will spotlight where to stay in Los Angeles if you are visiting without a car. This is a column you might want to keep, and give to anyone you know who is considering visiting Los Angeles and doesn't want to drive. (We have also spotlighted Los Angeles in our May 2012 and June 2012, and Long Beach in March 2012.)  (Please send your comments, suggestions, and ideas for places to be spotlighted in future columns to


Where to Stay on a Car Free Trip to LA

by Nathan Landau


Los Angeles is a great city for visitors. It has topnotch beaches, museums, shopping, theatre, restaurants, and more. And, despite what you may have heard, LA is surprisingly navigable without a car. LA has a large (and growing) rail and bus transit network that takes you just about anywhere you want to go.


But it's important to stay in the right place if you're seeing LA car-free. Some places in Los Angeles have world-class transit, elsewhere it's pretty poor. LA is a big city geographically, so one part of town may be more convenient for you than another.  Unlike in East Coast cities, attractions in LA are spread across a wide area. The quality of your experience as a car-free visitor can be greatly affected by where you stay. And many LA hotels are interesting places in their own right.


You might also want to stay in two different areas if you'll be in LA for four or more nights. This works particularly well if you stay in Downtown LA and Santa Monica. If you stay in two different areas, you can get a sense of both of them. You can also cut down the length of your transit trips-you can visit various destinations from the hotel that's closer to them.


There are a number of places you could stay car-free in LA, but three of the best and most popular areas are Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Santa Monica.


READ ON     

bikes in LA
Photo: Gary Leonar



The International Ecocity Framework and Standards (IEFS) initiative seeks to provide a vision for an ecologically-restorative human civilization as well as a practical methodology for assessing and guiding progress towards the goal.

To date in English, Chinese, German, French, Korean and Portuguese


Eco-Streets at BCIT
by Sarah Campbell

Eco-Streets Project Coordinator and Administrative Assistant,

School of Construction and the Environment 

British Columbia Institute of Technology

In 2009 Richard Register and Ecocity Builders (Kirstin Miller, Richard Smith, Isabel Wade and Marco Vangelisti) came to the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, BC to facilitate a sustainability charrette with Architectural Science students, faculty, and staff. The purpose was to explore the application of ecocity principles on BCIT's Burnaby Campus with a long-term goal of reducing energy and materials consumption by 75% to 90% without reducing service levels. This represents a Factor IV to X reduction and is the level of energy and materials consumption that many scientists say would be necessary to live within the carrying capacity of our planet, a reduction that many consider unfeasible. The goal of the Factor IV Project is to explore whether it can be done, while offering leading edge research and educational opportunities.


eco house Led by the School of Construction and the Environment (SOCE) the initiative centers around seven buildings in the North East side of the campus. On a small scale these buildings provide examples of industrial, commercial, and residential buildings; they house classrooms, trades shops, and even a residential home which showcases the integration of renewable energy and building technology.


Part of the approach is to implement immediate changes to the area that get people ready for the larger changes to come. Originally, this approach was termed "street repair;" however, staff and faculty involved in this initiative subsequently renamed  the project "Eco-Streets." The new name indicates the direction we are heading and hints that in the long-term we want to build towards developing an "ecocity fractile" in this part of the campus.


In addition to directly reducing energy and materials use, the project is looking to make holistic changes to the attitudes of the staff and students in these buildings. While energy and material conservation initiatives are ongoing, a new working group has plans to change the BCIT community's perception of this area. By capitalizing on quick-win strategies, they plan to make changes that psychologically prepare students and faculty for sustainable change. These quick-win projects will draw on the skill and knowledge of the faculty, staff and students in the SOCE, which offers a wide range of programs including: Ecological Restoration, Joinery, Interior Design, Metal Fabrication and Architectural Science. Students involved in these projects will get experience with real world scenarios, and see the projects they are involved in take shape on their campus.


Examples of projects identified for immediate implementation include: creating a more pedestrian friendly environment on the street that connects the seven buildings, using art and signage to mark the location of an underground stream - with plans to daylight it in the long-term, creating a management strategy to enhance the use of indigenous plants both within the streetscape and on building facades, using signage and vibrant colour schemes to tell the story of sustainability and create a more welcoming sense of place.  


For more information on this project, or other aspects of the Factor IV initiative, check out


British Columbia Institute of Technology School of Construction and the Environment is Lead Sponsor of the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative 



ECB logo


Founded in 1992, Ecocity Builders is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reshaping cities for the long-term health of human and natural systems.


ecocity 2013 
25-27 September 2013 

Help Us Create a 
Ecocity World Summit 2013! 

Proposals are due November 30, 2012. 
It's easy to submit a proposal!
And to answer any questions you may have...  


Starting Nov 2nd, the ECOCITY team launches Q&A sessions about the call for contributions (reminder: the call is open until Nov 30th)


You are invited to:

- join the Ecocity tweetchat on Fridays, 2pm-5pm CET (Central European Time)

- join our weekly Skype calls on Fridays (each call starts on the hour, between 2 and 5pm CET, add ecocity2013 to their contact lists, calls will be held in English)

- follow the #ECOCITY hashtag on twitter


And please help spread the word:

- Retweet the call for contributions to your contacts (please add the #ECOCITY hashtage and please use this link:

- join the ECOCITY team on wiserEarth (if in doubt, contact @WiserEarth)

- Post about #ECOCITY on other social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+)


10th in the International Ecocity Conference Series


The Moral Equivalent of War
Joining with our Chinese Neighbors to Stop the Spread of Deserts in Northeast Asia
By Ambassador Kwon Byung Hyun
former South Korean ambassador to China 

Founder & President

Future Forest *




Kwon Byong-hyon, founder of Future Forest, an anti-desertification group, aims to raise awareness of man-made environmental degradation such as desertification. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

It seems as if we are constantly preparing to fight the last war and completely unprepared for new challenges. But one needs only travel to the edge of the Kubuchi Desert in Inner Mongolia to see that mankind faces threats on an unprecedented scale that call our for our united action. We must use the full extent of our imagination to come up with solutions to this crisis through new global alliances that require us to completely rethink terms like "security" as we create a new civilization that can lead humans from the dark night of endless consumption to a hopeful future.


My engagement in the long-term effort to stop the spread of deserts in China started from a very distinct personal experience. When I arrived in Beijing in 1998 to serve as ambassador to China, I was greeted by the yellow dust storms. The gales that brought in the sand and dust were very powerful and it was no small shock to see Beijing's skies preternaturally darkened. I received a phone call from my daughter the next day and she told that the Seoul sky had been covered by the same sandstorm that had blown over from China. I realized that she was talking about same storm I had just witnessed. That phone call awakened me to the crisis. I saw for the first time that we all confronted a common problem that transcends national boundaries. I saw clearly that the problem of the yellow dust I saw in Beijing was my problem, and my family's problem. It was not just a problem for the Chinese to solve.    


When I had established myself at the Beijing Embassy, I asked my staff to conduct a survey about the origins and implications of the yellow dust, and how it arose from the rapid desertification of land in China. They came back to me with a report that explained that the problem was ongoing, already quite serious and worsening rapidly. Here was a threat that I had not even imagined before and it was rapidly becoming as great a challenge as any we face. The threat was increasing and it impacted both China and Korea. As the deserts move from West to East, we can expect the situation to grow even graver in the years to come. 


I learned from that report my staff gave me that the amount of desert in China was increasing at a rate of 2400 square kilometers a year and that nothing had yet been successful in slowing down that alarming rate of environmental transformation. I was alarmed. I felt we needed to do something, and to do something together with China. So I proposed to our Chinese counterparts that we should start some collaboration between China and Korea to combat desertification by planting trees. The initial response I received was lukewarm. The Chinese I spoke with explained to me that deserts are a regional problem, and a minor issue among the challenges facing China. They felt that China already has too many problems to address just to support its own people and assure their basic welfare. So desertification was not so urgent a matter. The sort of an issue, they felt, that one can worry about after one's economic power is established. 




*Thank you to Emanuel Pastreich, director of The Asia Institute in Seoul for alerting us to this article. 


Avalon, 11 years old, International Eco-Hero and founder of the nonprofit "Conserve it Forward" Congratulations Avalon!
Check out her great David Attenborough-style nature loving videos on her website!

Action For Nature's International Young Eco-Hero Award program honors the work of young people between the ages of 8 and 16 who have done creative environmental projects. 


Conserve It Forward: Red-eyed Tree Frogs in Nicaragua
Conserve It Forward: Red-eyed Tree Frogs in Nicaragua
Bolivia Enacts New Law for Mother Earth
By Sara Shahriari October 26, 2012, Indian Country Today Media Network

"Mother Earth is the living dynamic system made up of the indivisible community of all living systems and living beings, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, which share a common destiny. Mother Earth is considered sacred; it feeds and is a home that contains, sustains and reproduces all living things, ecosystems, biodiversity, societies and the individuals that compose them." -Bolivia's Framework Law for Mother Earth and Holistic Development to Live Well, October 2012

President Evo Morales issues Law of Mother Earth at an emotional ceremony at the Palacio Quemado Tawantinsuyu, Bolivia


Can the Earth have legal rights? Is a radical change in the way governments and people interact with the planet possible? A new Bolivian law says yes, defining Mother Earth as a living system with rights instead of an object open to unlimited exploitation.


Legislation rethinking human relationships with the planet was drafted by some of Bolivia's strongest social movements, including indigenous groups and small-scale farmers, in 2010. That same year President Morales signed an abbreviated version of the document, called the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth. Now, after years of discussions, a much wider reaching text named the Framework Law for Mother Earth and Integrated Development to Live Well is also law.


The wide-ranging document addresses topics including the environment, land distribution, access to employment, healthcare and education, using the concept of "living well" as its core theme. Seen as a return the indigenous values, "living well" is a way of life that values the collective over the individual, and having enough over having a lot. In Bolivia "living well" is also presented as a turn away from capitalism, which regards the planet as a commodity, in favor of sustainability and a harmonious relationship with Mother Earth.


In addition to defining the planet as a living system with rights, the law generally calls for an end to practices that damage the environment-a large undertaking for a country where existing environmental norms frequently go unenforced.



From Brazil - big win for Sustainable Cities!
Cidades Sustent�veis: 178 prefeitos eleitos no primeiro turno aderiram ao programa
(Sustainable Cities: 178 mayors elected in the first round joined the program)
Article in Portugese with English translation following 


Candidatos que foram para o segundo turno e mesmo os j� eleitos ainda podem assinar a carta compromisso da plataforma, que oferece uma agenda completa para o desenvolvimento sustent�vel


Airton Goes


Balan�o do Programa Cidades Sustent�veis sobre a ades�o dos candidatos a prefeito at� o primeiro turno das elei��es municipais revela que 178 dos eleitos s�o signat�rios da carta compromisso da plataforma. Ao assinar o documento, estes futuros executivos municipais se comprometeram a colocar em pr�tica em sua gest�o as propostas destinadas a promover o desenvolvimento sustent�vel dos munic�pios.


Entre as cidades que, j� no primeiro turno, elegeram prefeitos comprometidos com o programa est�o cinco capitais estaduais: Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Porto Alegre, Goi�nia e Macei�.


O levantamento registra que, no total, 548 candidatos a prefeito de 330 cidades assinaram a carta compromisso. Entre os munic�pios onde haver� segundo turno para a escolha do prefeito, 30 t�m candidatos comprometidos com o programa. Em 14 deles - entre os quais oito capitais de estado -, os dois concorrentes assinaram a carta compromisso.


As organiza��es respons�veis pelo Cidades Sustent�veis - Rede Nossa S�o Paulo, Instituto Ethos e Rede Social Brasileira por Cidades Justas e Sustent�veis - avaliam que o n�mero de ades�es e de prefeitos eleitos comprometidos com o programa j� superou as expectativas iniciais. Mesmo assim, informam que a carta compromisso ainda pode ser assinada pelos candidatos que passaram para o segundo turno e tamb�m pelos prefeitos eleitos no dia 7 de outubro que tenham interesse em promover o desenvolvimento sustent�vel de seus munic�pios.


Programa Cidades Sustent�veis

Totalmente apartid�rio, o Programa Cidades Sustent�veis tem o objetivo de sensibilizar, mobilizar e oferecer ferramentas para que as cidades brasileiras se desenvolvam de forma econ�mica, social e ambientalmente sustent�vel. Para isso, oferece aos candidatos uma agenda completa de sustentabilidade urbana, um conjunto de indicadores associados a esta agenda, e um banco de boas pr�ticas com exemplos nacionais e internacionais como refer�ncias a serem perseguidas pelos gestores p�blicos municipais. O programa � complementado por uma campanha para sensibilizar os eleitores a escolher a sustentabilidade como crit�rio de voto e os candidatos a adotar a agenda da sustentabilidade.



City Protocol Steering Committee meets in San Francisco, Tours Proposed Eco-Districts


Ecocity Builders partnered with the City of San Francisco's Planning Department to host a one-day conference and tour of SF's proposed eco-districts as an adjunct to the City Protocol Steering Committee meeting held recently in San Francisco. 


Director of Citywide Planning Jose Campos is leading local efforts in developing an eco-districts model for San Francisco. Campos has created an eco-districts typology customized for San Francisco's existing conditions and opportunities: 1. Blank Slate, 2. Patchwork Quilt, 3. The Strengthened Neighborhood, and 4. The Industrial Network. 


Our tour took us to the Central Corridor area, a Type 2 "Patchwork Quilt" EcoDistrict that weaves together historic buildings and streets, industrial landscapes and new development. 

Cp 4
Jose Campos, Director of Citywide Planning for San Francisco, leads the City Protocol team on a walking tour of SF's planned eco-districts.
CP 3
Exploring Yerba Buena Gardens
CP 2
Yurba Buena Lane, Yerba Buena Gardens, looking towards the Marriott Hotel
Photos by Nicholas Tapia, intern with Ecocity Builders
Eco Cities and the Eco Valley
by Eero Paloheimo and Pekka Paloheimo

Eero Paloheimo
Eero Paloheimo, Finnish designer, politician and university professor.

A Global Survey 2011 on Eco-Cities [1] includes 174 examples of Eco-Cities in the world and also a short historical view on their development. As far as we know, the first writer using the word Eco-City, was Richard Register in 1979 followed by his book nine years later, first with ecocity in the title, "Ecocity Berkeley" proposing a model scenario for that city into the future [2]. The concept of Eco-City and existing plans of Eco-Cities are rather new and their emerging is fast, but anyhow and sincerely: no real Eco-City exists in the world yet. 


The variation between the different given examples is great and the definition of the Eco-City is also still open and varying [1]. In [3] a suggestion for the definition of an Eco-City is presented as follows:     


"The ecocity is one of the most important part solutions to the ongoing global environmental crisis. It possesses two basic characteristics:

1. The ecocity makes economical use of natural resources -- materials, energy or space.

2. The ecocity does not pollute the environment - land, water or atmosphere.

These two properties are rational. The emotional requirement is presented already in Richard Register�s book Ecocity Berkeley (1987) and it could be called a Happy Marriage of Nature and Man."


The definition might either be the one presented above or something similar. It could refer to the possibilities of joining the so called clean technology inside one specific area. In all cases, we believe that there is no sharp border between the ecocities and the traditional cities. The change is gradual and in the future we can probably speak of 75 % - ecocities as well as of 50 % - or 25 % - ecocities. These may be defined by using some kind of indicators. These indicators can be calculated by applying input-output models and taking into consideration the whole life cycles of both material and energy of the production or consumption of an area [4]. All products used in the Eco-City must be included in this study.


New and Old Cities

About 3,5 billion people live in cities today. There are about 50 megapolises having more than 5 million inhabitants and their summarized population is about 500 millions.  We can estimate that in the near future the urbanization of the world will increase yearly with 80 million people.


The basic purpose of the ecocities is to stop the ecological and environmental crisis of the world. If we think very optimistically, in 20 years - that means in 2032 - all new cities are ecocities and their environmental footprint is essentially lower than today. But we think there are two crucial issues that should already be considered now.


The first issue concerns the timetable. The environmentally disastrous processes are mostly accelerating and the condition of the planet's environment in 2032 is most likely much worse than it is today. The ideological change of building new kind of cities should apparently be even faster than the optimistic estimation above. Still, more important is the second issue: only a fraction of the whole constructed urban area would change, if we concentrated totally and only on the new areas; towns and cities. The goal is to prevent the environmental catastrophe, and thus it is necessary to concentrate both on the existing built environment, the old cities and simultaneously change the form of the new cities. The first one is the bigger of the two tasks. 




world urban campaign logo
Principal Features of an Ecocity 

eco-city characteristics

lernertube  asa branca china dinner     
Ecocity 2013 logo


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