The World Urban Campaign (WUC) of which Ecocity Builders is an associate partner, unites partners from the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors who focus in the areas of city and regional planning, infrastructure, real estate development, and the rights of urban dwellers.
Coordinated by UN-HABITAT, WUC seeks to raise awareness about the challenges of global urbanization in the 21st century — in developed and developing world cities alike — and put those issues on the agenda of national governments and multinational corporations.
The pathway taken by urban development over the next few decades will play a crucial role in the trajectory of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource depletion, as well as the fundamental health and well being of the human species and all life on earth. Cities consume 60% to 80% of the world’s energy production and natural resources. With the urban population of the developing world projected to reach more than 5 billion people by 2050, ideas about how to combine urbanization and sustainability are of critical and immediate importance.
Sustainable development should therefore focus on the intersection between society, economy and the environment: i.e. cities, towns and villages, their citizens, their economies and the rural areas and ecosystems that sustain our human civilization with the adoption of an effective international framework to facilitate active engagement with members of public and private sectors.
Cities, towns and villages are where sustainable development happens. In order to meet the needs of both people and planet, cities must be re-designed to build soils, restore biodiversity and return the climate to dynamic stability — becoming net positive contributors to nature as well as to human culture. The ecocity approach to sustainable development seeks to maximize the possibility that cities and citizens can sustainably meet a majority of their needs from the natural capital of their own bioregions.
This approach has been under development and refinement for over 30 years by Ecocity Builders and our members and international associates. Ecocity leadership to date typically comes from Mayors and City Planners, NGOs and citizen activists, informal coalitions and even emerges through high-level mandates. The Ecocity Vision is encapsulating the integrated solution set needed to meet the level of the global sustainability crisis we collectively face.
In order to close sustainable development implementation gaps, we all need to be working towards the same goal with a shared vision of sustainable development; i.e. what to build. We are proposing a vision for an environmentally restorative and socially just human presence on earth that is both robust and transparent, verifiable and measureable. The Framework proposes indicators that can be used to drive investment and track progress as cities and citizens move towards increased balance with living systems.
The IEFS outlines 15 conditions for healthy cities and civilization in balance with earth systems organized through 4 fundamental urban arenas (urban design, bio-geo-physical conditions, ecological imperatives and socio-cultural conditions). The 15 conditions with corresponding verifiable indicators (under development in partnership with NGO Ecocity Builders) address the full range of a healthy human civilization operating within the earth’s biocapacity.