A sustainable city, or eco-city is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution - CO2, methane, and water pollution. Richard Register first coined the term "ecocity" in his 1987 book, Ecocity Berkeley: building cities for a healthy future.[1] Another leading figure who envisioned the sustainable city is architect Paul F Downton, who later founded the company Ecopolis Pty Ltd. The field of industrial ecology is sometimes used in planning these cities.

A sustainable city can feed itself with minimal reliance on the surrounding countryside, and power itself with renewable sources of energy. The crux of this is to create the smallest possible ecological footprint, and to produce the lowest quantity of pollution possible, to efficiently use land; compost used materials, recycle it or convert waste-to-energy, and thus the city's overall contribution to climate change will be minimal, if such practices are adhered to.

It is estimated that around 50%[2] of the world’s population now lives in cities and urban areas. These large communities provide both challenges and opportunities for environmentally conscious developers. In order to make them more sustainable, building design and practice, as well as perception and lifestyle must adopt sustainability thinking.

Practical achievementEdit

These ecological cities are achieved through various means, such as:

International examplesEdit


  • Melbourne
    • City of Moreland. The City of Moreland in Melbourne's north, has programs for becoming carbon neutral, one of which is 'Zero Carbon Moreland', amongst other existing sustainable implementations and proposals.
    • City of Melbourne. Over the past 10 years, various methods of improving public transport have been implemented, car free zones and entire streets have also been implemented.


Southern cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba are often cited as examples of urban sustainability.


In 2010, Calgary ranked as the top eco-city in the planet for it's, "excellent level of service on waste removal, sewage systems, and water drinkability and availability, coupled with relatively low air pollution.” The survey was performed in conjunction with the reputable Mercer Quality of Living Survey. [3]


  • Dongtan Eco-city is the name of another project on the third largest island in China at the mouth of the Yangtze River near Shanghai. The project was scheduled to accommodate 50,000 residents by 2010, but its developer has currently put construction on hold.[5]
  • Huangbaiyu is another major eco-city being built by China.
  • As of April 2008, an ecocity collaboration project is being proposed for a district in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu Province on the Yangtze River, just west of Shanghai.
  • Rizhao mandates of solar water heaters for households, and has been designated the Environmental Model City by China's SEPA.[6]:108

Denmark Edit

The industrial park in Kalundborg is often cited as a model for industrial ecology.

Ecuador Edit

Loja, Ecuador won three international prizes for the sustainability efforts begun by its mayor Dr. Jose Bolivar Castillo.[6]:25

Germany Edit

Freiburg im Breisgau is often referred to as green city. It is one of the few cities with a green mayor and is known for its strong solar economy. Vauban, Freiburg is a sustainable model district. All houses are built to a low energy consumption standard and the whole district is designed to be carfree.


India is working on Gujarat International Finance Tec-City or GIFT which is an under-construction world-class city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It will come up on 500 acres (2.0 km2) land.[7] It will also be first of its kind fully Sustainable City.


Hacienda - Mombasa, Kenya. It is the largest development of eco-friendly residential properties in East Africa; construction is currently ongoing, and it will eventually be one of Africa’s first self-sustaining estates.


Songdo IBD is a planned city in Korea which has incorporated a number of eco-friendly features. These include a central park, irrigated with seawater, a subway line, bicycle lanes, rainwater catchment systems, pneumatic waste collection system, ... Finally, 75% of the waste generated by the construction of the city will be recycled.

New Zealand Edit

The city of Waitakere, the Western part of the greater Auckland urban region, was New Zealand's first eco-city, working from the Greenprint, a guiding document that the City Council developed in the early 1990s.

Republic of IrelandEdit

South Dublin County Council announced plans in late 2007 to develop Clonburris, a new suburb of Dublin to include up to 15,000 new homes, to be designed to achieve the highest of international standards.[8] The plans for Clonburris include countless green innovations such as high levels of energy efficiency, mandatory renewable energy for heating and electricity, the use of recycled and sustainable building materials, a district heating system for distributing heat, the provision of allotments for growing food, and even the banning of tumble driers, with natural drying areas being provided instead.[9]

Sweden Edit

Gothenburg, and especially Älvstaden (central city by the river Göta Älv) are good examples of sustainable city in Sweden. They have low environmental impact, contain passive houses, good recycling system for waste, etc.

Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm

United KingdomEdit

  • St Davids the smallest city in the United Kingdom aims to be the first carbon neutral city in the world.[10]
  • Leicester is the United Kingdom's first environment city[11]

United StatesEdit

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit


de:Ökostadt es:Ecociudad ko:생태도시 pt:Ecocidade zh:生态城

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