Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Plans for sustainable cities, green cities, ecocities

From Ecocity Builders newsletter today; Ecocity Builders is launching the International Ecocity Standards (IES) project to define "ecocities" by developing a set of standards, criteria and metrics against which to evaluate and guide new and existing cities' progress towards becoming an "ecocity." International Ecocity Standards will evaluate different scales of development, from the small neighborhood scale to the regional scale. Similar to LEED green building standards, the Ecocity Standards will rate urban development at various levels of attainment.


In 2007 SIDA, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency gave out a draft version of the manual Sida Manual for Support to Environmentally Sustainable Urban Development in Developing Countries, with the believe that it may form a starting-point for further development of methods and tools aiming at sustainable urban development in developing and transition countries, paying special attention to the conditions and needs of poor women, men, girls and boys. Summary report can be found here The Sustainable City Approach.

The main steps in the working procedure are:
Step 1 – Define and organise the sustainability review
Step 2 – Make a diagnosis of the current situation
Step 3 – Specify key issues and objectives
Step 4 – Develop alternative proposals
Step 5 – Analyse anticipated, potential impacts
Step 6 – Choose a strategy for implementation and follow-up

the manual goes through these steps in a very useful way


The main aim of the ECOCITY project was the integrated and implementation-oriented planning of seven model urban quarters in seven European countries seen at the map.

From the book; The term Ecocity has so far been used mainly by movements which were aiming to realise new, consistent urban solutions as alternatives to current developments. A pioneer in disseminating the Ecocity idea is the Ecocity Builders organisation in the USA, which is dedicated to reshaping cities, towns and villages for the long-term health of human and natural systems, by organising a series of ‘International Ecocity Conferences’.

Ecocity - How to make it happen

Example from Tübingen, South-West Germany

The little town with a medieval town center is situated close to Stuttgart. The ecoproject was held in the neighborhood Französchises Viertel, an old area for military. When the new neighborhood was planned, the old buildnings was left and have been transformed to fit the new area. Here a combination of old and new, and most of all, mixed use buildings with art studios, cafés, a lot of green and common areas.

When the new area was in planning stage, the new inhabitants, architects and city planners made decisions together.

The triangle is a scholar example from environmental communication and also one of the figures found in the book above. Click to zoom.

When we plan cities and neighborhoods in the future, one important aspect is that the planning look like the upper part of this triangle. The citizens are not only part of the planning, they are a part of their future life. Only if people can have a say and also change decisions and plans if they are not good enough, then we can reach sustainability.

Another example how to work with future holistic approaches is the Eco2city project from World Bank. With these principles very similar;
  1. ‘A City Based Approach,’ which enables local governments to lead a development process that takes into account their specific circumstances, including their local ecology;
  2. ‘An Expanded Platform for Collaborative Design and Decision Making’ that accomplishes sustained synergy by coordinating and aligning the actions of key stakeholders;
  3. ‘A One System Approach’ that enables cities to realize the benefits of integration by planning, designing, and managing the whole urban system; and
  4. ‘An Investment Framework that Values Sustainability and Resiliency’ by incorporating and accounting for life cycle analysis, the value of all capital assets (manufactured, natural, human, and social), and a broader scope of risk assessments in decision making.
More about the concept can be read here; Ecological cities as economical cities

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