10 Features of Ecocities & Ecovillages that Inspire our World to Be More Sustainable

The environmental problems in urban and large cities should not be hinged solely on urbanization, but on our inability to make cities more sustainable and livable by using urbanization in much better and efficient ways than we have been able to.

We can use urbanization in much better ways if we apply the concepts used in creating ecocities and ecovillages which employ good ecological designs and make new and existing urban areas more sustainable, naturally self-reliant, and pleasurable places to live in.

An ecocity (also known as a green city) is an environmentally sustainable city that applies the following three principles of sustainability, or lessons from nature, in order to promote environmental sustainability based on development and minimal environmental impact goals:

  • reliance or dependence on solar energy in order to reduce or eliminate environmental impacts of fossil fuels and artificially created forms of energy.
  • application of nutrient or chemical cycling or waste reuse to ensure there is little or no waste disposal in the environment.
  • allowance for all types of biodiversity (or biological diversity) to exist and provide vital ecosystem services; this can further provide numerous ways for the variety of plant and animal life to adapt to changing and challenging environmental conditions.

The vehicles, appliances, and buildings that exist in ecocities are highly energy-efficient and make ecocities to be somewhat energy-independent. Unlike in most cities where industrial sites are either unkept and abandoned, in ecocities, abandoned industrial sites are cleaned up, regenerated, and used for beneficial purposes.

Future ecocities look attractive because they could consist of buildings that would be powered by solar panels, power plants, wind turbines, and roofs; in addition, they could have digesters that would be used to convert kitchen and plant waste into natural gas for cooking and heating.

In addition to ecocities, eco-villages exist, in cities, urbanized areas, or ecocities. The term “ecovillage” was first coined and used by Robert Gilman in 1991. In his paper titled “The Ecovillage Challenge”, he defined ecovillage as “a combination of a human habitat and human activities that does not cause environmental damage and support human health” (Gilman R., 1991).

An ecovillage (a.k.a. ecodistrict) is an environmentally sustainable community or settlement of people that is smaller than a city and applies the goals targeted by the three principles of sustainability mentioned earlier.

Ecocities, ecovillages, and the findings in other projects and research works on biomimicry, provide mankind with sufficient ideas that can be used to improve the ecological design of buildings, based on the three principles of sustainability.

10 Features or characteristics of ecocities and ecovillages

1. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages use solar energy and locally available renewable energy resources; in so doing, they reduce their ecological footprints.

2. Ecocities and ecovillages consist of buildings that produce more energy than they consume, and can be heated and cooled as much as possible by nature or natural processes.

3. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages plant trees and plants in most areas in order to ensure that there is pure air, adequate shade, and soil is protected from erosion.

4. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages use material resources and energy more efficiently; for instance, instead of using money and energy to mow grass, they ensure cattle or sheep graze on grass, thereby saving energy and using grass as a resource.

5. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages reuse, recycle, and compost high percentages of their solid waste. Instead of disposing animal manure in their environment, they ensure that it is used as organic fertilizer on farmlands.

6. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages reduce waste generation and prevent pollution as much as possible. To ensure there is little or no air pollution, waste is properly disposed or efficiently reused, and the inhabitants walk or move around in low-polluting vehicles.

7. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages promote agriculture, aquaculture, and construction of urban gardens and farmers’ markets.

8. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages protect and support the growth of biodiversity, preserve forests and grasslands, and protect and restore natural systems.

9. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages ensure that most of their food is produced from organic farms, community farms, solar greenhouses, and gardens.

10. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages educate their populations about environmental problems and solutions.

Examples of ecocities and ecovillages

  • Curitiba ecocity, Brazil.
  • Dongtan ecocity, China.
  • Masdar ecocity, UAE.
  • Vauban urban ecovillage, Freiburg, Germany.
  • Los Angeles ecovillage, USA.
  • Cloughjordan ecovillage, Ireland.
  • BedZED housing development ecovillage, London, England.

Examples of emerging ecocities or cities that are becoming environmentally sustainable

  • Bogota, Columbia.
  • Helsinki, Finland.
  • Waitakere City, New Zealand.
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Malmo, Sweden.
  • Portland, Oregon, USA.

16 comments

  • I wish I lived in an ecocity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks for reading and making such a touching and heartfelt comment… I also wish I could live in an ecocity or at least an ecovillage; they sound like more calm, peaceful, and environmentally friendly places to live in

      Liked by 1 person

  • It’s really amazing, when we start putting our little efforts, no doubt we can make it. Ecocity dream for me too. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • you’re welcome, Amita; thanks for reading and commenting 😃… truly, when people make conscious efforts to live a sustainable lifestyle, they can greatly benefit themselves and the world at large

      Like

  • We must make ecocities and ecovillages around the world in response to climate change. Thank you 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  • By just adding the word ‘Eco’, modernisation meaning changes. Your post helped me to get update with useful information.🙂

    Like

  • Re: “… reliance or dependence on solar energy in order to reduce or eliminate environmental impacts of fossil fuels and artificially created forms of energy.”
    ______

    The climate-change/green-energy aspect of any new infrastructure project should include expanded mass solar-energy harvestation. At the very least, every structure might try independently harvesting solar energy as its own source of emergency power via storage system. There already are fossil-fuel-powered generator systems that engage once the regular electric-grid flow gets cut off, so why not use completely clean, renewable and free solar energy instead of the very old school, carbon-footprint intensive and often pricy solid-energy means?

    Also, it may no longer be wise/practical to have every structure’s entire electricity supply relying on external power lines that are susceptible to being crippled by unforeseen events, including storms of unprecedented magnitude, especially considering our very vulnerable overreliance on electricity. (Coronal mass ejections’ powerful EMF effects, however rare, leave external-source electrical grids vulnerable to potentially extensive damage and long-lasting power outages.)

    Albeit, if such solar-power universality would come at the expense of the traditional energy production companies, one can expect obstacles, including the political and regulatory sort. If it notably conflicts with corporate big-profit interests, even very progressive clean-/green-energy motions are greatly resisted, often enough successfully. And, of course, there will be plenty people who will rebut the concept, even solely on the notion that if it was possible, it would have been patented already and made a few people very wealthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks for sharing detailed points and insights… it is true that political and regulatory obstacles may arise if solar-power is to be instituted worldwide and at the expense of the traditional energy production companies; however, in ecocities and ecovillages, which are few in number compared to parts of the world that are not ecocities or ecovillages, such useless obstacles don’t pose any threats; hence, without obstacles, “The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages use solar energy and locally available renewable energy resources; in so doing, they reduce their ecological footprints”.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Pingback: 10 Features of Ecocities & Ecovillages that Inspire our World to Be More Sustainable – Sun Sol Coast

  • Pingback: 10 Features of Ecocities & Ecovillages that Inspire our World to Be More Sustainable — Motivation & Environment | SIx design hats

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.