To support humanity’s transition into the Ecozoic Era

Ecocities Emerging

To support humanity’s transition into the Ecozoic Era
Ecocity Builders
April 2012

Greetings,

Ecocity Builders’ members recently returned from another round of meetings with United Nations Member States and Major Groups in New York City in the lead up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, convening this June in Rio de Janeiro. While there, we met with Sweden’s Rio+20 Ambassador and city focused groups to discuss how countries can better support local authorities and citizens working to improve the environmental and social health of human settlements.

Also in recent developments, Richard Register and I visited Tianjin Eco-city in China early in March where we consulted to the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Administrative Committee (STECAC) that is responsible for the building of this the flagship Chinese ecocity project currently in construction. Eventually it will house 350,000 citizens. The first 17 families moved in just a week or two before our Ecocity Builders crew arrived. Richard is currently on assignment to the STECAC writing an assessment of the project with suggestions for this city and successor projects into the future.

In other news, Ecocity Builders has formed an ecocity partnership agreement with ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability. We will be working together, along with our other key partners and supporters (including British Columbia Institute of Technology’s School of Construction and the Environment), to develop the Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative and assist in the development of and services to an international Ecocity Network within ICLEI’s membership of over 1,000 cities worldwide.

We’ve also submitted an exciting proposal for a Rio+20 side event in partnership with the US Department of State – Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, Esri, (a geographic information systems mapping company), Mozilla, (an internet technology foundation and the builders of the Firefox web browser), Ushahidi, (a citizen crowdmapping organization based in Nairobi, Kenya), and the Association of American Geographers. Together, we will showcase a mapping, geodesign, and citizen participation toolkit for building ecocities.

Also at Rio+20 this June, we will seek to demonstrate ecocity action in real time, on the ground, in one of the favela communities in Rio, likely working with UN Youth delegates paired with local youth and citizen mappers. We want to demonstrate how ecocity mapping assessments can be used in informal settlements and low income communities to educate and build up important networks of communication while providing access to data that can inform citizen-initiated ecocity action plans.

And, adding another critical tool to the ecocity toolkit, we will be working with Sebastian Moffatt and the Consensus Institute to upgrade Moffatt’s existing urban metabolism visualization and accounting program (a process for diagrammatic mapping of energy, water and resource flows through cities, neighborhoods, and buildings) into an open-source, easy-to-access tool that will be based upon the best urban metabolism methodology (confirmed by an advisory group) and released in Beta version at Rio.

We have a real whirlwind of action happening. We are doing our best to build strong partnerships with like-minded businesses, cities, and associations working to increase urban sustainability and resilience around the world.

Now is the time for cities, citizens and countries to join together and restore living systems to safe conditions and define a way we can live and thrive on Earth as a global community.