International Ecocity Framework and Standards

Recent Experts Consultation in Vancouver: Bill Rees, Jan Timmer, Jennie Moore and Sebastian Moffatt


The International Ecocity Framework and Standards (IEFS) provide both the vision for an ecologically restorative human presence on earth as well as a practical methodology for assessing and guiding the achievement of such vision through the lens of the ecocity.

As humanity is confronting the limits of a finite planet, observing global climate destabilization and the endangerment of entire ecosystems, the responsibility of its settlements and lifestyles’ impact on climate change, ecological destruction and resource depletion needs to be addressed.

The IEFS will establish levels of ecocity certification that will ensure a human presence on the planet that is enhancing of and synergistic with other living species and natural systems. The various levels of certification will allow for a manageable progression from our current situation to the highest level.

The IEFS platform adopts a systems view: not only is the built environment one of the elements of that system, but so are the humans living there, the other species sharing the same bioregion, as well as the human agency in the world through lifestyle choices, work and investments.

Importantly, the IEFS is meant to work with other rating, ranking, evaluation and metrics systems. Many existing strategies and approaches will fit within the Ecocity Framework and will allow for a wide variety of ecocity solutions and customized approaches. Our intent is to collaborate widely with current green city and green building systems.

Lead Sponsor: British Columbia Institute of Technology – School of Construction and the Environment

Supporters: The Helen and William Mazer Foundation, Columbia Foundation, Novatek, HealthBridge Canada


IEFS Advisory:

To date, the IEFS is being shaped by a diverse group including representatives, employees and associates of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Manchester, British Columbia Institute of Technology, University of British Columbia, University of California at Berkeley, University of Montreal, Simon Fraser University, Tribhuvan University, The Ecological Society of China, World Wildlife Foundation US, Ecocity Builders, Urban Ecology Montreal, The One Earth Initiative, HealthBridge, Consensus Institute, Urban Resource Systems, Novatek, The Helen and William Mazer Foundation, Ecopolis Architects, and Wayne State University.

Core Advisors

Kirstin Miller, Executive Director, Ecocity Builders, Director, IES

Kirstin is an environmental activist, community organizer and a writer and editor. She has been with Ecocity Builders since 1997. Kirstin has presented for the organization locally, nationally and internationally. Her articles and essays on ecocities, urban ecology and the environment have appeared in a number of publication, including Orion Afield, Ecotecture and Wilderness and Human Communities, The Spirit of the 21st Century. Kirstin works closely with Ecocity Builders’ President Richard Register in the development of the organization’s “toolbox” of strategies, such as car free by contract housing, environmental restoration transfer of development rights, centers oriented development, ecological demonstration projects and ecological zoning overlay mapping. She also helps coordinate an alliance of local environmental organizations working to promote and advance ecologially healthy urban policies and projects, including the development of an ecological demonstration project in the heart of Berkeley California and teaches a course on The Ecological City Structure at the University of California Berkeley’s Sustainable Design Program in San Francisco.

Marco Vangelisti, Ecocity Builders, Slow Money Alliance

Marco Vangelisti studied theoretical math (algebra, logic and topology) and applied math (statistics, operations research and theory of programming language design) at the University of Padova in Italy. He obtained an MBA from the school “Enrico Mattei” in Milan. He was a Fulbright scholar in mathematics and economics at the University of California in Berkeley. Marco worked for 11 years at BARRA in Berkeley – a think tank developing statistical risk models for equity and fixed income markets around the world. He worked as visual artist on a full-time basis for 5 years. Marco obtained a MFA focusing on the intersection between public art and ecology. He later worked for 6 years managing investment equity portfolios primarily on behalf of large foundations and endowments. Marco left the corporate world in April 2009 and is currently studying permaculture design and system theory and collaborating with Ecocity Builders and the Slow Money Alliance. He strongly believes in multidisciplinarity and cross-pollination.

Jennie Moore, British Columbia Institute of Technology, School of Construction and the Environment

Jennie Moore is the Director, Sustainable Development and Environmental Stewardship at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and part of the School of Construction and the Environment. She has extensive experience in the realm of urban sustainability and worked for over ten years with the Metro Vancouver, as a planner and Strategic Initiatives Division Manager, helping to coordinate the Sustainable Region Initiative. Previously, Jennie also co-founded Vancouver’s Ecocity Network and served as their coordinator. Jennie is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional and has a Masters of Arts in Planning from the University of British Columbia

Richard Register, President, Ecocity Builders, Oakland, CA

Richard Register is an author, illustrator and theorist in ecological city design and planning. He is also an activist on local projects, from creek restoration and urban gardening to street and building redesign, working with environmentalists, developers and politicians to get a better city built and running. Register is founder of Ecocity Builders, a California non-profit corporation. He convened the First International Ecocity Conference in 1990 and advised on all subsequent conferences in the series. These events have involved approximately 3,800 people and 525 speakers to date. His latest book: Ecocities – Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature, 2006.

Paul Downton, Ecopolis Architects, Adelaide, Australia

Paul Downton is Director and Principal Architect of Ecopolis Architects Pty Ltd. Working with his partner Chérie and colleague Emilis Prelgauskas in 1991 he formed Urban Ecology Australia, the national non-profit urban environmental community group which has been actively promoting ecological developments ever since. Paul is a talented artist as well as seminal thinker developing ecocity theory and giving countless public talks, radio, TV and newspaper interviews internationally on ecological architecture, urban ecology and ecopolis and unique experience actually building projects he designs. Paul and his partner Cherie were co-conveners of the Second International Ecocity Conference in Adelaide. Ecopolis Architects:

Charlene Easton, M.E.S., Advisor, Sustainability, C Easton and Associates

Charlene has worked for over25 years at the forefront of sustainability and climate change in areas of governance, organizational management, operational applications and community engagement. Background includes Director of Sustainability at the University of British Columbia; Sustainability Community Development Advisor to a leading Vancouver business, Program Lead to the ENACT Local Sustainable Development Planning Program, Kingston, Jamaica, and Training Coordinator, the ICLEI Local Agenda 21. Charlene graduated with a Masters in Environmental Studies York University and has interest in EcoCity demonstration projects and capacity building in the context of sustainable community development, globally.

Vanessa Timmer, Co-founder and Director, One Earth Initiative

Vanessa Timmer co-hosts the Canadian television show, The Sustainable Region with her sister Dagmar. She sits on the Board of Judith Marcuse Projects, a not-for-profit that promotes art practice as a transformative tool, creating positive social change. From 2006-2008, Vanessa was Project Manager (External Relations) at Metro Vancouver (formerly Greater Vancouver Regional District – GVRD) as part of the Sustainable Region Initiative which brings together private sector, municipal governments, civil society and other partners to stimulate ideas and action around sustainability. Vanessa holds a Ph.D. in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia. Her dissertation focused on organizational structure and strategy of Friends of the Earth International and Greenpeace, and on their ability to adapt to change. This interdisciplinary research draws on literature from social movement theory, international relations, political science, systems theory, organizational behavior and sustainability science.

Debra Efroymson, HealthBridge, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Debra Efroymson has worked for HealthBridge (a Canada-based NGO focused on public health) since 1995, first in Hanoi, Vietnam, then since 1998 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has worked on ecocities, transport, and urban planning since 2004, and works closely with ecocity programs in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Nepal. She is the author of several books and reports including on liveable cities, ecocities, public spaces, transport policy, and earned media. In addition to her native English, she speaks Spanish, French, Bengali, Nepali and Vietnamese.

Sudarshan Tiwari, Architect and City Historian, Kathmandu, Nepal

Sudarshan Tiwari is an architect and cultural historian and scholar of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Sudarshan earned degrees in architecture from the University of Delhi and the University of Hawaii. He has served in the faculty of Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Engineering for more than 25 years, and was Dean of the Institute between 1988 and 1992. His own interest drew him to the study of Nepali historical architecture, urbanism and conservation, which led to a PhD from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, for his work on the ancient settlements of the Kathmandu Valley. Sudarshan Tiwari:

Isabel Wade, Ph.D., Urban Resource Systems

Isabel Wade is the founder and President of Urban Resource Systems(URS), an international non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco. She was born in Quebec, Canada. URS was founded in 1981 with the mission to promote greater urban self-reliance in cities worldwide. URS projects have focused on urban agriculture, urban forestry and solid waste management — each with community participation as a fundamental platform for implementation. Key models have been established in San Francisco, California and Oregon. Dr. Wade has served as the Executive Director of a number of the URS projects including ZooDoo Compost, California ReLeaf (urban forestry in California), the AIDS Memorial Grove, and Neighborhood Parks Council. She initiated the State of California’s Urban Forestry Program in 1977 as a special consultant to Governor Jerry Brown and Resources Secretary Huey Johnson. Dr. Wade received one of the first national awards for excellence in the environmental field from Good HouseKeeping Magazine. In 1999, she received a Gerbode Fellowship Award in recognition of her contributions in the environmental field from the Gerbode Foundation. She served on the Environment Commission of the City of San Francisco from 1994-1996 and as Chair of the Parks Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee from 2000-2005. She currently serves as a consultant on international and local urban environmental projects and is on the Board of Directors of EcoCity Builders and the Neighborhood Parks Council. Dr. Wade is a co-author of Citizens and the Environment (Indiana University Press), and author of City Food (URS, 1981), and numerous articles on urban food production. She has a doctorate in Environmental Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. She is an avid gardener.

Richard Smith, Wayne State University

Rick Smith is Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. Prior to his involvement with Ecocity Builders, he served as a Presidential Management Intern at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and US Agency for International Development. As a desk officer for the Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Initiative at HUD, he developed performance measures, coordinated information systems and advised CEOs and local government staff on ways of enhancing community development strategies. Smith also served in Peace Corps Mongolia, managed the Spring Institute English Language Center and consulted with the World Bank, UNDP and UNICEF. He is also a graduate of the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University.

Expert Advisors include:

Mathis Wackernagel, President, Global Footprint Network, Oakland, California, USA

Peter Gleick, President, Pacific Institute, Member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, MacArthur Fellow

Janet Larsen, Director of Research, Earth Policy Institute, Washington, DC, USA

William Rees, Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia (UBC)

Bill McKibben,

Warren Karlenzig, President, Common Current & Strategic Advisor, the Institute for Strategic Resilience, Shanghai-San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, USA

Rusong Wang, President, Ecological Society of China, Bejing, China

Ray Tomalty, Principal, Smart Cities Research Service & Adjunct Professor, School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Sudarshan Raj Tiwari, Professor, Department of Urban Planning, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuwan University, Lalitpur, Nepal

Ian Douglas, Emeritus Professor, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Manchester, England, President, Society for Human Ecology

Jeffrey Heller, FAIA, President, Heller Manus Architects, San Francisco, CA, USA

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