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Thread: What is the best example of an ecocity?

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    What is the best example of an ecocity?



    What is the best example of an ecocity?

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I would love to help, but your last thread you didn't like the help provided. Please give a more detailed description of what you are looking for. Also, please realize that if this is for school, you should be doing the research and trying to learn more about whatever topic you are given. We are here to help, but we don't do school work for you.

    So with that said, I would love to discuss Ecocities with you. Can you give me an example of what your definition of an Ecocity is, or give some locations that fit that description?
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    There aren't a lot of real ecocities, most are hype.

    For the US, you might want to read David Owen's Green Manhattan

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by O.Akovali View post

    What is the best example of an ecocity?
    Define "eco city"

    I don't think one exists but in concept only, and trust me.. it is conceptual only...

    FYI... I so wish i had this as a kid...
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

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    Ok, this is for school again, and I'm doing the research, I'm so full of readings, but they're not enough for me to speak about it. So I can not discuss, if this is a mistake, then I won't write any thread again. Sorry about that.

    A large scale ecocity project is what I'm looking for, and you said that there area no real ecocities /: Can I study the Masdar City (in Abu Dhabi) or Richard Register's Berkeley Ecocity?

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by O.Akovali View post
    Ok, this is for school again, and I'm doing the research, I'm so full of readings, but they're not enough for me to speak about it. So I can not discuss, if this is a mistake, then I won't write any thread again. Sorry about that.

    A large scale ecocity project is what I'm looking for, and you said that there area no real ecocities /: Can I study the Masdar City (in Abu Dhabi) or Richard Register's Berkeley Ecocity?
    We under stand it is a project, but for order for us to give you some real meaningful direction outside of your professors, there needs to be some parameters to your question. It is so open ended, than none of us can pinpoint what you are looking for.. i.e.

    As in, "i am researching an eco city, so what are some good sources that utilize green infrastructure"
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

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    Cyburbian
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    There are a lot of eco-cities that are on the drawing board but virtually none that have actually been built. There are a good number of cities that have incorporated sustainable elements but none that I'd consider calling a true eco-city. Like the one in Abu Dhabi is on the right track but due to geographic considerations, there's no way it is truly a sustainable city. The UAE is completely dependent on the outside world for its survival. They can't grow food domestically nor do they have a sufficient freshwater supply without having to rely on desalination.

    You might try looking at some cities that incorporated significant sustainable elements but discuss why they fell short of being considered eco-cities.

    Honestly, eco-cities sound more like a utopian ideal to strive for rather than something that is actually feasible. Maybe things will change some day but I'm just not seeing it now.

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    Curitiba, Brazil

    I do not know the term, "ecocity," but Curitiba, Brazil, set out many decades ago to be the ecological city of Brazil with the brilliant work of a planner, Jaime Lerner, who went on to become the mayor of the city and governor of the province. They tackled poverty, homelessness, urban blight and transportation issues in a manner that showed great regard for the triple bottom line. It is still a good and older model to look at. Greensburg, Kansas, really built back "green" from being flattened by a tornado about six years ago and the Greening of Greensburg is well-document in lots of locations.

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    ...from the definition itself, I visualized a place that is a combination of modern structure and nature. A place that even modernized still has the touch or rather near in the environment.

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    can i get into discussion?

    If i'm not mistaken eco city is same term of sustainable city that this concept has been raised from sustainable development .

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    I think Masdar city is a good example for that. And here's a link that might help you I think. Good luck

    http://eau.sagepub.com/content/18/1/67.full.pdf+html

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    Cyburbian
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    Bult? With real performance data?

    Check out:

    Bo01/västra hamnen, Malmö, Sweden

    http://www.malmo.se/English/Sustaina...n-Harbour.html

    In this area, the Skandinavians still dominate...

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Putting on my ecologist's hat, there are no examples of an ecocity existing today. Especially not Masdar.
    -------
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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Putting on my ecologist's hat, there are no examples of an ecocity existing today. Especially not Masdar.
    Agreed. A city built where there is no need for a city or carrying capacity to support a city is, by definition, not a ecocity.

    Check out some of the Skandie sustainability communities though. quite a few of 'em are very impressive. Besides things like Bo01, there's an island off of Copenhagen that claims to be completely self-sufficient.

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    Cyburbian
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    Ecological footprint of cities

    This website give a lot of interesting information on ecological footprints (also of a number of cities): http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/index.html

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by monika_upm View post
    This website give a lot of interesting information on ecological footprints (also of a number of cities): http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/index.html
    hehe.. The sad thing is, the city with the lowest ecological footprint is also likely to be the poorest and most deprived city. Controlling for wealth, it's likely to be the city with the lowest heating and cooling load (because of perfect climate), plentiful water (for consumption, agriculture and power generation) and a cultural aversion to red meat. With a few rather extreme Scandinavian examples, planning may not have the most to do with it. Some of the best examples are probably in Southern Brazil (which has all of the foregoing except for their love of red meat).

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by monika_upm View post
    This website give a lot of interesting information on ecological footprints
    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    hehe.. The sad thing is, the city with the lowest ecological footprint is also likely to be the poorest and most deprived city.
    It always comes back to I = P x A x T.

    Or in this context:

    ecocity = low population x low affluence x low technology.
    -------
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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    It always comes back to I = P x A x T.

    Or in this context:

    ecocity = low population x low affluence x low technology.
    It seems to me that "ecocity" is an oxymoron if it's applied to any "city" larger than, say, 30-50 k residents. When you put a lot of people together in a relatively small space, you lose the conditions that can make cities sustainable. Is it realistic to think that people are going to live in 10 story apartment buildings without air conditioning and elevators? Is it realistic to think that a city of 250,000 or 1 million people is going to be able to grow enough food to feed itself on tiny bits of available land? Density and sustainability just seem to be be at opposite ends of the energy use spectrum.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    It seems to me that "ecocity" is an oxymoron if it's applied to any "city" larger than, say, 30-50 k residents. When you put a lot of people together in a relatively small space, you lose the conditions that can make cities sustainable. ... Density and sustainability just seem to be be at opposite ends of the energy use spectrum.
    I attended a forum earlier today that asked "are we 'sustainable' ?" so I'm kind of grumpy, but there is a school of thought that says you can have "density" and still be "sustainable", presumably with the intention that elevators and building conditioning of glass skyscrapers will be powered by...by...well, some magical technology. I'm not so sure, but I do think in the future with less dense energy that we'll have larger cities with buildings of 5 stories or lower that will exist. Whether this will be an "ecocity" is unknowable.

    But one thing is sure: an ecocity will be populated by humans that act and think much differently than we do today. And the economics may be unknowable to an old-school macroeconomist today.
    -------
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Density and sustainability just seem to be be at opposite ends of the energy use spectrum.
    In existing cities, this is not necessarily the case, since locational economics alone justify the density as it is (it would be there anyway, the question is how to make it as sustainable as possible). It also depends on what measures of sustainability one uses. In new communities (eco-cities), it really depends on the design strategy used and the relative wealth levels, as well as the climate.

    Basically, resource requirements (water, electricity, air, waste handling capacity) tend to decrease per capita with density as a result of the fact that space per capita also decreases (by the way, this is what I do, so if anyone is interested I can provide reams of numerical data on this topic). However, holding space constant, the resource intensity per unit space (as opposed to per capita) increases (if you have a small apartment, you tend to leave the lights on in the one room you occupy, whilst if you have a large villa, you tend to leave the lights on only in a part of the house at a time). Netting the two behaviors off against each other, the per capita decrease in operational resource expenditure almost always exceeds the per unit space increase in operational resource expenditure, all other factors being equal, making density more sustainable by those measures. In theory, the urban heat island effect plus the building stack effect should mean that Linda is right, and heating and cooling loads are higher for higher density buildings than lower density ones, but the actual numbers show is still swamped by the decrease in space per capita at higher densities, still leading to the same net plus for density.

    Also, remember that density means a lot of a different things. I can do towers at 50 units an acre (on up to 300-400, but that happens like 5 places around the planet) or I can do lowrise walkup apartments at the same 50 units an acre. There is always more of the latter than the former.. even in NYC. I can do midrise apt buildings at 26 units an acre (in China or Korea or LA) or I can do single family attached units, rowhouses or townhouses - at 26 junits an acre.

    The same does not hold for materials, of course.. higher density unequivocally means more material expended both per capita and per unit space; however, this adverse consequence of density is mitigated by the fact that the typical material contribution to either energy or carbon emissions is only around 5-8% over the useful life of a building, whilst the operational measures typically account for 55-70% of building/space-related energy use.

    Energy expenditure on transit/private vehicular transport unit decreases on both a per capita and a per unit space basis with greater density, provided that the mixture of uses is fairly fine-grained (eg., this logic works in NYC and San Francisco a lot, in San Diego, Baltimore and Cleveland somewhat, and in LA and San Jose not at all.. but the worst result possible here is neutral for density.. not a positively correlated relationship).

    There are also climatic and grid feedstock and conversion efficiency issues that may effect building and typology issue under different density scenarios, but that's a much more complex issue.

    Over all, denser means more sustainable by most resource-based operational measures.

    Once you get outside of operational resource measures.. into issues like food consumption and so forth, higher densities tend to translate into less sustainable behavior (in a city, you tend to eat out more, fly in airplanes to other cities more, etc), but in terms of magnitude, either in energy or in emissions or water use, these result in relatively small numbers compared to the base operational resource measures mentioned above. Still, I'm very interested in urban farming strategies and so forth.. also, a lot of these are more lifestyle issues that may be more linked to WHO lives at higher densities rather than the fact of that density itself (if I were to transplant Upper West Side NYC yuppies to low density suburbia, there is some chance that their high-per-capita-consuming restaurant food behavior would not change.. nor would the fact that they need to fly off on business and pleasure trips all the time).

    I once did a detailed accounting of my personal carbon emissions footprint. I worked it out to about 2.9 metric tonnes per year before flights, 3.9 metric tonnes before offsets - much lower than the approximately 18 tonne pre-flight average for Americans (of course, sustainability is what I do, and my lifestyle reflects that). NYC residents average about 8 tonnes.. still much lower than the 18 tonnes for the US as a whole. This is pretty impressive when you consider that NYC has about the national average for heating and cooling load.. the single biggest variable source of personal carbon emissions and energy expenditure (yes, urban San Diego has relatively low emissions per capita.. an average of about 12 metric tonnes/person, but, then again, it has virtually no heating and cooling load).

    Here's the clincher. Much of my work is around the world.. on things like eco-cities. Once you factor in the average 200,000 km of extremely energy and carbon intensive first and businses class flight time I book every year, my footprint jumps to something like 24 tonnes ;P
    Last edited by Cismontane; 17 May 2012 at 7:42 PM.

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