Building a sustainable, connected city with more/better transit, greater walkability and space for people, driverless shuttle services, heated sidewalks and a super-resilient energy grid

WEYMOUTH, Mass. — Kyle Corkum imagines a “smart city” with futuristic amenities like driverless shuttle services, heated sidewalks and a super-resilient energy grid that keeps humming through the harshest of storms.

As chief executive of LStar Ventures, a developer of planned communities, he has a chance to build the neighborhood of his dreams from the ground up on the site of a long-shuttered naval air station in this town just 12 miles south of Boston’s booming technology hub.

LStar, based in Raleigh, N.C., has enlisted General Electric as its partner. Because they are starting from scratch, Mr. Corkum said, the companies can embed smart technology into the energy, water, lighting and transportation systems that will serve the community.

The project comes at a time when the tech industry is under intense scrutiny. Facebook is struggling with revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, improperly harvested private information from 50 million of the social network’s users. And Uber’s travails include a pedestrian death caused by one of its autonomous vehicles last month.

LStar Ventures has enlisted General Electric as its partner in Union Point. The companies want to build a place where smart technology is embedded into water, light, energy and transportation systems.CreditElkus Manfredi Architects

Still, LStar is pushing ahead with the smart city, called Union Point. Plans include thousands of housing units and millions of square feet of high-tech commercial space on about 1,500 acres that extend into the neighboring towns of Rockland and Abington. The community’s glass towers, public plazas, clustered housing, scattered parks and retail zones will be contained within 500 acres, leaving the rest as dedicated open space.

So far, the community consists of about 1,200 occupied single-family homes, townhouses and apartments, as well as a nearly completed $28 million sports complex with a miniature replica of Fenway Park. A cavernous aircraft hangar will be renovated for use as the centerpiece for a downtown district with shops, restaurants and open spaces with public programming.

General Electric will use Union Point as a laboratory for testing new products and as a showroom for working systems. Eric Gebhardt, the strategic technology officer at GE Power, said the community’s energy plan will include micro grid technology, renewable generation and power storage. The company will also install “intelligent” lighting — streetlights with sensors that can track sound, light and other conditions. The data can be used to monitor traffic, help drivers find parking spaces and alert law enforcement if a gun is fired.

G.E. has piloted some of its smart products in existing cities, but Union Point is an unusual opportunity because most of the infrastructure does not exist yet and the developer is open to experimentation, Mr. Gebhardt said.

LStar plans to open an innovation center in the air station’s old power plant. The center has expressed an interest in featuring an interactive planning tool developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology City Science Group called CityScope, which could aid in Union Point’s evolution by allowing users to visualize and explore trade-offs around factors like density, transportation and walkability, said David Rose, a researcher and lecturer at MIT’s Media Lab.

The streets within Union Point will not be public ways, giving the developers leeway to test autonomous vehicles and lighting technologies. CreditElkus Manfredi Architects

LStar wants “the center to be a showcase for what the city could be, a place to monitor what it is becoming, and a place to ask existential questions like, ‘Could it be more inclusive, say, or energy efficient?’” Mr. Rose said.

LStar also has an agreement with Optimus Ride, an autonomous vehicle start-up in Boston, to set up a self-driving vehicle service at Union Point. The company is already testing its electric vehicles at the property.

Union Point’s first commercial tenant is expected this spring, when Prodrive Technologies, a Dutch company that develops and manufactures products for the automotive, medical and other industries, will break ground on its 60,000-square-foot United States headquarters. The site’s proximity to Boston, access to commuter rail service and ample room for expansion were crucial to the firm’s location decision, said Roy Willems, the company’s general manager of United States operations. He said Prodrive expected to build a second 200,000-square-foot building within three years, and increase its work force to roughly 300 people.

LStar had to persuade the three host communities to approve critical zoning changes before it could move forward with the project. They also granted the developer considerable latitude over the design and layout of the community, which will take shape over 15 to 20 years.

“The three towns recognized an opportunity to do something quite extraordinary” on a site where previous development plans stalled, said David P. Manfredi, a founding principal at Elkus Manfredi Architects, which helped create the master plan for Union Point. “This is an alternative to what could have been suburban sprawl.”

Union Point will be developed over the next 15 to 20 years. Its first commercial tenant, ProDrive Technologies, is expected to break ground on its United States headquarters there this spring. CreditElkus Manfredi Architects

Union Point promises to bring badly needed tax revenue to Weymouth, said the town’s mayor, Robert L. Hedlund. “It’s the commercial build-out that we’re lusting after,” he said.

Still, similarly ambitious smart city projects have proved perilous. Mr. Rose cited Songdo, a smart city nearing completion in South Korea, as a prime example. The city boasts advanced connectivity, but it has so far failed to meet expectations in attracting international businesses and residents.

“What they got wrong was any sort of sense of streetscape,” said Mr. Rose, who has visited Songdo. “There’s no sense of patina, no authentic street life. It’s super sterile. It was built as this fantasy of the future, but it’s a place that humans don’t want to occupy.”

The integration of technology into urban planning has prompted questions about how the data being collected will be used. In Toronto, for example, Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, attracted considerable publicity when it was selected last year to help create a smart neighborhood of sorts in a waterfront district called Quayside. Some local officials and critics are questioning whether the deal gives too much authority to Sidewalk Labs without putting limitations on Google’s collection and use of data.

The need for greater regulation of driverless vehicles has also come up for debate after the death last month of a woman who was struck by one of Uber’s self-driving cars in Tempe, Ariz.

“Very few local governments have thought through the long list of public- and private-sector values and concerns that should be deployed to constrain” the use of autonomous cars, as well as the technologies being used to monitor city streets, said Susan Crawford, a Harvard Law School professor. “Once you’ve given a developer license to deploy total surveillance, with no public limitations, you’re done.”

LStar has considerable leeway to test technologies at Union Point. The developer is purposely holding on to its roads, rather than asking for them to be made public ways, to maintain flexibility in testing autonomous vehicles, lighting and other technologies, said Robert Luongo, Weymouth’s director of planning and community development.

“If these were public ways, we might not be able to give them that flexibility,” he said.

Mr. Corkum said retaining ownership of the roads would enable them to play with designs for amenities like drop-off areas for driverless shuttles and heated sidewalks. “It’s better for us to stay in this testing phase until we have good workable solutions,” he said.

State oversight of autonomous vehicles applies only once there is public use, he said. Even then, the rules are vague. Ryan Chin, the chief executive of Optimus Ride, said his company would adhere to the same high-level safety standards and testing protocols at Union Point that it followed for testing driverless cars in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood.

As for privacy concerns, Mr. Corkum said that he believed in setting boundaries on data collection and use. There is value in using technology to improve quality of life by, for instance, alleviating traffic jams, but he said he was wary of falling prey to a “preoccupation with optimization.”

The company is working with law firms and consultants on operating guidelines for gathering and anonymizing data and ensuring it cannot be hacked or used to invade privacy, he said.

“I don’t like the Big Brother notion that we know everything about you,” he said. “We will use data for the benefit of the group, not in a way to leverage the group.”


Around the world

Around the world, ecocities are beginning to emerge from the drawing board, from Masdar City in Abu Dhabi to PlanIT Valley in Portugal. Aimed at being the world’s largest of its type, Tianjin Eco-city is a collaborative project between the Chinese and Singaporean government that will house 350,000 people in a low-carbon, green environment around half the size of Manhattan by 2020. All going well, the team hope its model for building a sustainable city will provide the blueprint for future urbanization efforts in China, and other countries.

An eco-city is the planned construction of a city that takes into account the ecological requirements as well as the social and economic requirements of an urban landscape (Hald, 2009)

Huffington Post, excerpt, 2016 by Meagan Ruan

The idea of building a “green city” is no recent innovation. In 1975, Richard Register at the University of California in Berkeley formed an organization called Urban Ecology, dedicated to ecological city design and planning. His approach outpaced traditional urban greening methods such as revised land-use and voluntary resource conservation, and instead focused on creating “decent, affordable, and economically mixed housing,” promoting technology to reduce pollution and hazardous waste, and supporting “ecologically sound economic activity.” Today, Urban Ecology acts as a consultancy helping neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area design sustainable streetscapes, architecture, and land use arrangements.

Eco-cities have come a long way since Register first conceived of the idea. Technologies for clean power, waste management, agricultural resource recycling, and water conservation have been vastly refined, and governments have invested in municipal frameworks for these technologies.

The Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, a flagship cooperative project between the governments of Singapore and China, is one current effort to build a large scale eco-city. The city is compactly planned for 350,000 residents and accessible from a variety of major transportation routes, less than 150 kilometers away from Beijing. Figure 1 shows the energy, transportation, and natural resource targets that the Tianjin Eco-City hopes to hit. Of note, the city supplies 100 percent potable tap water, a feature unusual in the majority of large Chinese cities, much less in rural areas.

However, though the Tianjin Eco-City is moderately sized compared to China’s largest cities, housing few hundred thousand people still poses a challenge for ecological sustainability. Often, the very process of building an eco-city can be “inherently unsustainable.” Some researchers claim it is more important to prioritize development of existing cities than to fund idealized master plans for brand new eco-cities. However, doing so would eliminate the possibility of creating jobs via demand for ‘green’ workers.

Lastly, an unintended consequence of being located near existing urban centers is the disincentive to move into the eco-city versus an established city like Beijing. For example, the Caofeidian project, just south of Beijing, has been dubbed a “ghost city” in reference to its trickling inflow of residents. Now, rapidly filling the ranks of new eco-cities has become a vital step in easing fear of a real estate meltdown, but enough job incentives must exist in order to attract residents. China’s economic targets are traditionally outlined in its “Five-Year Plans,” which have increasingly focused on jobs in green industries. During the 11th Period (2006-10), more than 9,000 jobs were generated by the solar power sector alone. Between 2011 and 2020, the government hopes to increase this to an average of 6,000 direct jobs and 16,000 indirect jobs per year, in industries such as solar, wind, and sustainable transportation.

At the University of Minnesota, researchers Roger Ruan and Paul Chen are exploring an alternative to the massive eco-cities that have been built so far. Both are experts in the field of biosystems and bioengineering and believe that a truly environment-friendly, pollutant-free “eco-city” must be built on a small to mid-size scale. In November 2014, they received a grant from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to build a pilot version of their “green metropolis” in rural Jiangxi Province.

The city aims to create an entirely contained cycle of production, consumption, and waste recycling. Solid bio-waste will be funneled to produce feed and fertilizer, while liquid waste rich in phosphorus and nitrogen will be used to grow hydroponic (water-rooted) plants. Since plants can directly submerge their roots in reservoirs of wastewater, growing crops for edible use and livestock feed will require vastly reduced land area (Figure 2). “This kind of complete recycling and reuse system can be used to produce truly organic living with zero pollutants to the soil, water, or air,” said Ruan. Used in conjunction with more traditional forms of green energy such as solar, wind, and hydraulics, these “distributed eco-cities,” as Chen calls them, have the potential to be completely emission-free.

The demo city is labeled as ‘distributed’ because it employs different energy-recovery methods depending on where the eco-city is built. Bioregionalism, or harnessing resources specific to each region, creates a much more versatile ecological framework than a massive commercial venture such as the Tianjin Eco-City. Building eco-cities in rural rather than near-urban areas also attracts unskilled rural laborers by providing a host of conservation-related jobs. These jobs could change the lives of rural citizens that have been historically neglected by the government.

Fortunately, eco-cities can help resolve the social divide that exists in China today, between those of rural and urban residency status. The household registration that China has operated under since 1949, called hukou, is partly used to control internal migration, a fact which has severely limited socioeconomic mobility.

In the mid 1980s, policies were enacted allowing holders of rural hukou to migrate to cities in order to fill industry’s exploding labor demand. China experienced an estimated influx of 200-250 million rural citizens into urban areas — the equivalent of the United States moving its entire population, except Florida and California, into urban residency. Following this so-called “Great Migration,” many cities were unable to meet housing demands, prompting the rapid growth of urban slums.

In the words of Professor Kam Wing Chan, from the University of Washington, Seattle, these rural-urban migrants are “trapped, through institutional mechanism, in a permanent social ‘half-arrival’ situation, with little hope of acculturating into the urban permanent population.”

This class of unskilled rural migrant labor, or nongmingong, is in substantial need of urban employment and affordable housing. As China moves to complete its push for urbanization, eco-cities can provide the necessary outlet. The viable stream of jobs, both in standard industry capacity and sustainability and renewable energy production, simultaneously addresses the problems of overcrowding and environmental hazard. Relocating to an eco-city, where production uses modern green technology, will inherently encourage further expansion of such methods.

In November 2014, China and the United States struck a landmark accord to limit emissions of greenhouse gases through 2025. China ambitiously plans to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and also to “increase its share of non-fossil fuels to 20 percent of the country’s energy mix” (Harvey). Intuitively, eco-cities are a framework under which China can begin to satisfy this goal. All that is needed now is a mechanism that encourages more citizens and businesses to live and work in eco-cities.

Standing atop the hill in Jiangxi Province, Ruan says the never-ending hills in front of him are a reminder of how much further there is to go. But he then turns to the land behind him, which has already been surveyed and marked for development. He says, “Look how much progress has been made. We are giving people a truly once in a lifetime opportunity — to live and work in a place that is not only fruitful, but also sustainable and beautiful. It shouldn’t take much more convincing than that.”

Megan Ruan is a sophomore at Yale University. Contact her at

Dongtan, China

The eco-city of Dongtan was seen as a paradigm for Chinese sustainable development. Dongtan is situated in the East of Chongming Island, near Shanghai. In 2005 the project was taken on by Arup, an international engineering and design company. In order to be successful as a city, Arup realised that Dongtan had to be commercially sustainable as well as ecologically sustainable to try minimise commuting times and distances (Castle, 2008). Through a number of meeting carried out in 2005,

The main aims of the project: the city was to run off renewable energy sources, water was to be recycled and reused, preserve the wetlands surrounding the area by creating a buffer-zone surrounding the city, and ban all fossil-fuel powered vehicles to try and protect the air quality (Castle, 2006). Additionally, in order to realise this last point, all housing was to be constructed within a seven minute walk of a public transport service. The plan was to try and construct a city that was linked by a vast array of bicycle paths, pedestrian routes and public transport (Hald, 2009). For visitors driving into the city, there would be parking facilities on the outskirts of the city and then public transport provided from there.

Dongtan received huge amounts of media attention due to its pioneering approach to sustainable development (Hald, 2009). If Dongtan is to prove successful as a zero-carbon emissions sustainable city then it could be used as an archetype for sustainable development both in China and across the globe (Cheng and Hu, 2009). Although the plans all seem very impressive, Dongtan has yet to be constructed. Many people are sceptical it will ever be completed and cite the fact it is simply too ambitious a project to take on. Others cite tension between the constructors – Arup – and local authorities in Shanghai for the cities slow progress. Either way it seems a shame this extravagant and innovative approach to combatting pollution and sustainable urban development has yet to be finished. Only once its completed can we truly see how successful it is and whether it can be used as a prototype for other cities.

The issue with eco-cities like Dongtan is that there are still questions as to whether they actually address the problems surrounding sustainable urban development. By building an eco-city such as Dongtan, yes it provides a sustainable approach for that city, but does it really help the issues of over-urbanization and huge pollution facing the rest of China. Eco-cities are seen as a way of reducing threats to the natural environment while at the same time providing a liveable urban environment (Alusi et al, 2011). The problem is that eco-cities do little to address the problems facing all the other cities in China and as such offer little as a model for sustainable development. In order to combat the problems facing existing Chinese cities not a model needs to be developed that can shift these pre-existing cities into a way of operating in a more sustainable manner. Simply constructing new eco-cities fails to address the real problems.

China Statistical Bureau. 2002. Statistical Yearbook of China 2002.
United Nations Population Division. 2006. World Urbanization Prospects
2005, New York.
Cities Alliance, The. 2007. Livable Cities – The Benefits of Urban Environmental
Planning. Washington D.C.: The Cities Alliance.
Castle, H. (2008). Dongtan, China’s Flagship Eco‐City: An Interview with Peter Head of Arup. Architectural Design, 78(5), 64-69.

Cheng, H., & Hu, Y. (2010). Planning for sustainability in China’s urban development: Status and challenges for Dongtan eco-city project. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 12(1), 119-126.

Alusi, A., Eccles, R., Edmondson, A., & Zuzul, T. (2011). Sustainable Cities: Oxymoron or the Shape of the Future?. Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Working Paper, (11-062), 11-062.

Hald, M. (2009). Sustainable Urban Development and the Chinese Eco-City: Concepts, Strategies, Policies and Assessments. Fridtjob Nansen Institute.

Tianjin Eco-city (2012)

Tianjin Eco-city is a collaborative project between the Chinese and Singaporean government that will house 350,000 people in a low-carbon, green environment around half the size of Manhattan by 2020. All going well, the team hope its model for building a sustainable city will provide the blueprint for future urbanization efforts in China, and other countries.  As I approach the city under an ever-present pall of filthy air, across a wasteland of contaminated soil and water, I have my reservations about the Eco-city’s success. The site chosen for the project was an industrial dumping ground for toxic waste, barren salt flats abutting one of the world’s most polluted seas. This was deliberate, says Ho Tong Yen, head of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment, the firm charged with building the city. “In the past, so-called ecocities have been built in ecologically important areas or on useful arable land. We wanted to show that it’s possible to clean up a polluted area and make it useful and liveable.”

The clean-up took the best part of three years, and included the development of a newly patented technology that removes the heavy metals from a central reservoir – soon to be a boating lake. This hard graft looks like it has paid off. I enter the part-complete city down an avenue lined with fragrant trees and solar-energy panels. Among the newly planted saplings I spot five wind turbines and solar-powered street lighting. One-fifth of the energy used here will be emission-free – from solar, wind and, as I discover on a visit to the almost finished international school, from ground-source heat pumps, which use the temperature difference in the ground for energy.

Walking up stairs in the school, I trigger another innovation into action: Dutch-owned Philips is trying out its new sound- and motion-sensitive lights, which default to off unless the switch hears or feels someone approach. Buildings will have smart controls, automatically raising and lowering window blinds to regulate light and temperature, for example. Other innovations include a pneumatic municipal waste collection system, produced by the Swedish company Envac, which will eliminate the need for refuse trucks, and the authorities will be allowing General Motors to road-test the next-generation of its driverless EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) cars.

Sustainable living

In March, the first 60 families moved into the city’s residential buildings, all of which are designed to a minimum green buildings standard, including water-saving sanitary fittings, insulated walls and double-glazed windows, as well as a south-facing orientation to optimise passive heat. Such techniques may be standard in some countries, but in China they are rare.

Also rare here is the emphasis on liveability. Parks and green spaces are planned around the city, and reed beds have been created to attract birdlife and help clean the water. Lanes and alleyways have been strung through the usual grid layout of big blocks, meaning communities can develop. Everywhere is walkable or cycle-able, so that people do not feel socially excluded from areas. Free recreation facilities will be provided within 500m (1,640ft) walk of anywhere.

A green spine, called the “eco valley” runs through the heart of the city with cycle routes and a tram. Residents will be encouraged to use regular low-carbon transport or walk, rather than driving. Cars won’t be banned, Ho says. “We don’t want to create obstacles for people, but rather make it conducive to use alternatives.” Niche designs that have focused blindly on eco-technologies have not worked, he says. “This eco-city will be practical – it will work.”

To that end, the city is setting itself up as a hub for green tech enterprise and creative industries. Six hundred companies have already set up shop, including an animation studio that is powered by its own energy station, incorporating solar PV walls as well as roof panels.

Water provision is one of the bigger challenges in this naturally arid area. Tap water will be drinkable and piped in, although the city is planning a possible desalination plant too. A lot of effort is being put into conserving water and recycling it for irrigation and toilet flushing. “The lakes and water pipes have been lined in clay or concrete to prevent salt water incursion, and all waste water is being sent to plant for anaerobic biodigestion,” says Ary de Koning of the EU-China River Basin Management Programme, who is advising the city on water issues. “The methane emitted in the digestion process is then used to produce energy,” he says.

It certainly feels like a more pleasant place to live than the traffic choked, polluted cities further inland, even at this incomplete stage. And unlike the majority of planned ecocities, this one will actually be finished and already has residents. But whether it lives up to its green credentials will depend in part on the type of society it nurtures.

It strikes me that social inclusivity is perhaps Tianjin’s most novel and important mission. One fifth of the housing will be subsidised for low-wage workers and their families. “We want to avoid the idea that this is a haven for rich people or second-homers from Beijing,” says Ho. “Being green isn’t a luxury, it’s an affordable necessity. This city should be a practical, replicable, scalable model for elsewhere in China and the world.”

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City of the future (Credit: Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

The world’s biggest eco-city in development, Tianjin Eco-city will be around half the size of Manhattan. (Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

Reclaiming land (Credit: Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

Reclaiming land

The team hope its model for building a sustainable city from polluted land will be copied by others. (Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

Cleaning up (Credit: Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

Cleaning up

Technology removing toxic heavy metals from water will help turn the polluted reservoir into a boating lake. (Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

Sustainable living (Credit: Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

Sustainable living

Tianjin Eco-city aims to house 350,000 people in a low-carbon, green environment by 2020. (Copyright: Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Development and Investment)

Under development (Credit: Copyright: Getty Images)

Under development

A vision of the present and future of the eco-city as a truck drives into the site. (Copyright: Getty Images)

Road-testing technology (Credit: Copyright: General Motors)

Road-testing technology

Tianjin Eco-city will be a test-bed for several new technologies. For instance, General Motors will trial its next-generation of driverless EN-V cars. (Copyright: General Motors)

Korea’s High-Tech Utopia, Where Everything Is Observed

IMAGINE public recycling bins that use radio-frequency identification technology to credit recyclers every time they toss in a bottle; pressure-sensitive floors in the homes of older people that can detect the impact of a fall and immediately contact help; cellphones that store health records and can be used to pay for prescriptions.

These are among the services dreamed up by industrial-design students at California State University, Long Beach, for possible use in New Songdo City, a large “ubiquitous city” being built in South Korea.

A ubiquitous city is where all major information systems (residential, medical, business, governmental and the like) share data, and computers are built into the houses, streets and office buildings. New Songdo, located on a man-made island of nearly 1,500 acres off the Incheon coast about 40 miles from Seoul, is rising from the ground up as a U-city.

Although there are other U-city efforts in South Korea, officials see New Songdo as one apart. “New Songdo will be the first to fully adapt the U-city concept, not only in Korea but in the world,” said Mike An via an e-mail message. Mr. An is the chief project manager of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority, the government agency overseeing the project.

In the West, ubiquitous computing is a controversial idea that raises privacy concerns and the specter of a surveillance society. (They’ll know whether I recycled my Coke bottle?!) But in Asia the concept is viewed as an opportunity to show off technological prowess and attract foreign investment.

“Korea has gathered the world’s attention with its CDMA and mobile technologies,” Mr. An wrote, referring to digital cellular standards. “Now we need to prepare ourselves for the next market,” which he said was radio-frequency identification, or RFID, and for U-cities. South Korea’s Ministry of Information and Communication has earmarked $297 million to build an RFID research center in New Songdo.

Fulfilling this ambition, to a large degree, resides with John Kim, a 35-year-old Korean-American who leads New Songdo’s U-city planning. Mr. Kim is vice president for strategy at New Songdo City Development, a joint venture of the Gale Company, an American developer, and POSCO E&C, a subsidiary of South Korea’s giant steel company.

Mr. Kim, formerly a design leader at Yahoo, said the city’s high-tech infrastructure will be a giant test bed for new technologies, and the city itself will exemplify a digital way of life, what he calls “U-life.”

“U-life will become its own brand, its own lifestyle,” Mr. Kim said. It all starts with a resident’s smart-card house key. “The same key can be used to get on the subway, pay a parking meter, see a movie, borrow a free public bicycle and so on. It’ll be anonymous, won’t be linked to your identity, and if lost you can quickly cancel the card and reset your door lock.”

Residents will enjoy “full videoconferencing calls between neighbors, video on demand and wireless access to their digital content and property from anywhere in Songdo,” he said.

Whether it lives up to its billing as an exportable city of the future — its critics fear another planned-city disappointment like Brazil’s capital, Brasília — New Songdo will most likely be a chance to study the large-scale use of RFID, smart cards and sensor-based devices even as Western societies lag in this next wave of computing.

“There are really no comparable comprehensive frameworks for ubiquitous computing,” said Anthony Townsend, a research director at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., and a former Fulbright scholar in Seoul. “U-city is a uniquely Korean idea.”

New Songdo, a free-enterprise zone where English will be the lingua franca, is often called the largest private real-estate development in the world. When completed in 2014, it is estimated that this $25 billion project will be home to 65,000 people and that 300,000 will work there. Amenities will include an aquarium, golf course, American-managed hospital and preparatory schools, a central park (like New York’s), a system of canals (like Venice’s) and pocket parks (like Savannah’s), a self-described patchwork of elements gleaned from other cities.

People from Seoul and other crowded South Korean cities are already applying for apartments, and planners are counting on luring attractive businesses.

The technology infrastructure will be built and managed by Songdo U-Life, a partnership of New Songdo City Development and the South Korean network integrator LG CNS, which is recruiting foreign information-technology companies as partners.

“This is a profit-generating model, unlike other U-city projects,” Mr. Kim said. “Songdo U-Life will charge building owners for facilities management and act as a gateway to services. Our partners will test market services that require, say, wireless data access everywhere or a common ID system, without having to build anything themselves.”

More philosophically, “New Songdo sounds like it will be one big Petri dish for understanding how people want to use technology,” said B.J. Fogg, the director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University.

If so, it is an experiment much easier to do in Asia than in the West.

“Much of this technology was developed in U.S. research labs, but there are fewer social and regulatory obstacles to implementing them in Korea,” said Mr. Townsend, who consulted on Seoul’s own U-city plan, known as Digital Media City. “There is an historical expectation of less privacy. Korea is willing to put off the hard questions to take the early lead and set standards.”

Two things Mr. Kim insists on are that U-life will not be used to test “junk” and that the digital services will be designed around people’s needs rather than around the technology. “We’ll be doing marketing and ethnographic research, digging deeper,” he said. As part of that research, Mr. Kim asked the Cal State students to submit ideas for U-life.

While New Songdo’s publicity material states that it seeks to avoid the “stressful flaws that compromise” existing cities, Mr. Townsend says he doubts that it will be able to emulate the creative energy of, say, Seoul. “Will it really be a place where people want to experiment?” he asked.

South Korea perceives an economic imperative in the answer. “Korea has a very strong I.T. industry, but our other economic sectors are not so good,” said Geunho Lee, a senior research fellow at the Korea U-City Forum, a public-private group involved in supporting U-city projects across the country. “We need to test the business validity of these services in order to generate new value and economic growth.”

The ability to do such vast market testing is enviable, said Dr. Fogg, of Stanford. “This is a competitive advantage for the Koreans,” he said. “They will know before anyone else what flies.”

“But I foresee that many services will fail,” he added. “That’s the nature of experimentation. They should be prepared for the frailties of human nature to emerge.”

ecological cities are achieved through various means, such as:

  • Different agricultural systems, such as agricultural plots within the city (suburbs or centre). This reduces the distance food has to travel from field to fork. Practical work out of this may be done by either small scale/private farming plots or through larger scale agriculture (e.g. farmscrapersUrban Agriculture)
  • Cities account for 70% of human-made CO2 emissions.[8] Renewable energy sources, such as wind turbinessolar panels, or bio-gas created from sewage. Cities provide economies of scale that make such energy sources viable.
  • Various methods to reduce the need for air conditioning (a massive energy demand), such as planting trees and lightening surface colors, natural ventilation systems, an increase in water features, and green spaces equaling at least 20% of the city’s surface. These measures counter the “heat island effect” caused by an abundance of tarmac and asphalt, which can make urban areas several degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas—as much as six degrees Celsius during the evening.
  • Improved public transport and an increase in pedestrianization to reduce car emissions. This requires a radically different approach to city planning, with integrated business, industrial, and residential zones. Roads may be designed to make driving difficult.
  • Optimal building density to make public transport viable but avoid the creation of urban heat islands.
  • Solutions to decrease urban sprawl, by seeking new ways of allowing people to live closer to the workspace.[citation needed] Since the workplace tends to be in the city, downtown, or urban center, they are seeking a way to increase density by changing the antiquated attitudes many suburbanites have towards inner-city areas.[citation needed] One of the new ways to achieve this is by solutions worked out by the Smart Growth Movement.[citation needed]
  • Green Roof

    Green roofs alter the surface energy balance and can help mitigate the urban heat island effect. Incorporating eco roofs or green roofs in your design will help with air quality, climate and water runoff. [9]

  • Sustainable transport, incorporates five elements: fuel economy, occupancy, electrification, pedal power, and urbanization.[10]
  • Zero-energy building
  • Sustainable urban drainage systems or SUDS
  • energy conservation systems/devices
  • Xeriscaping – garden and landscape design for water conservation
  • Key Performance Indicators – development and operational management tool providing guidance and M&V for city administrators[11]
  • Sustainable Sites Initiative or SSI,Voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. Key areas of focus are soil, vegetation, hydrology, materials, and human health and well being.


Buildings provide the infrastructure for a functioning city and allow for many opportunities to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. A commitment to sustainable architecture encompasses all phases of building including the planning, building, and restructuring. Sustainable Site Initiatives is used by landscape architects, designers, engineers, architects, developers, policy-makers and others to align land development and management with innovative sustainable design.[12]

Eco-industrial park[edit]

The purpose of an eco-industrial park is to connect a number of firms and organizations to work together to decrease their environmental impact while simultaneously improving their economic performance.[13] The community of businesses accomplishes this goal through collaboration in managing environmental and resource issues, such as energy, water, and materials.[13] The components for building an eco-industrial park include natural systems, more efficient use of energy, and more efficient material and water flows[13] Industrial parks should be built to fit into their natural settings in order to reduce environmental impacts, which can be accomplished through plant design, landscaping, and choice of materials. For instance, there is an industrial park in Michigan built by Phoenix Designs that is made almost entirely from recycled materials.[14] The landscaping of the building will include native trees, grasses, and flowers, and the landscaping design will also act as climate shelter for the facility.[14] In choosing the materials for building an eco-industrial park, designers must consider the life-cycle analysis of each medium that goes into the building to assess their true impact on the environment and to ensure that they are using it from one plant to another, steam connections from firms to provide heating for homes in the area, and using renewable energy such as wind and solar power.[13] In terms of material flows, the companies in an eco-industrial park may have common waste treatment facilities, a means for transporting by-products from one plant to another, or anchoring the park around resource recovery companies that are recruited to the location or started from scratch.[13] To create more efficient water flows in industrial parks, the processed water from one plant can be reused by another plant and the parks infrastructure can include a way to collect and reuse storm water runoff.[13]

Urban farming[edit]

Urban farming is the process of growing and distributing food, as well as raising animals, in and around a city or in urban area. According to the RUAF Foundation, urban farming is different from rural agriculture because “it is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system: urban agriculture is embedded in -and interacting with- the urban ecosystem. Such linkages include the use of urban residents as labourers, use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation), direct links with urban consumers, direct impacts on urban ecology (positive and negative), being part of the urban food system, competing for land with other urban functions, being influenced by urban policies and plans, etc.”[15] There are many motivations behind urban agriculture, but in the context of creating a sustainable city, this method of food cultivation saves energy in food transportation and saves costs. In order for urban farming to be a successful method of sustainable food growth, cities must allot a common area for community gardens or farms, as well as a common area for a farmers market in which the foodstuffs grown within the city can be sold to the residents of the urban system.[15]

Berms of fava beans have been planted at Hayes Valley Farm, a community-built farm on the former Central freeway ramps of San Francisco.

Urban infill[edit]

Many cities are currently in a shift from the suburban sprawl model of development to a return to urban dense living. This shift in geographic distribution of population leads to a denser core of city residents. These residents provide a growing demand in many sectors that is reflected in the architectural fabric of the city. This new demand can be supplied by new construction or historic rehabilitation. Sustainable cities will opt for historical rehabilitation wherever possible. Having people live in higher densities not only gives economies of scale but also allows for infrastructure to be more efficient.

Walkable urbanism[edit]

Walkable urbanism is a development strategy in opposition to suburban sprawl. It advocates housing for a diverse population, a full mix of uses, walkable streets, positive public space, integrated civic and commercial centers, transit orientation and accessible open space. It also advocates for density and accessibility of commercial and government activity.

New Urbanism[edit]

The most clearly defined form of walkable urbanism is known as the Charter of New Urbanism. It is an approach for successfully reducing environmental impacts by altering the built environment to create and preserve smart cities which support sustainable transport. Residents in compact urban neighborhoods drive fewer miles, and have significantly lower environmental impacts across a range of measures, compared with those living in sprawlingsuburbs.[16] The concept of circular flow land use management has also been introduced in Europe to promote sustainable land use patterns that strive for compact cities and a reduction of greenfield land taken by urban sprawl.

In sustainable architecture the recent movement of New Classical Architecture promotes a sustainable approach towards construction, that appreciates and develops smart growth, walkability, architectural tradition and classical design.[17][18] This in contrast to modernistand globally uniform architecture, as well as opposing solitary housing estates and suburban sprawl.[19] Both trends started in the 1980s.

Individual buildings (LEED)[edit]

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System® encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system. LEED recognizes whole building sustainable design by identifying key areas of excellence including: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Locations & Linkages, Awareness and Education, Innovation in Design, Regional Priority.[20] In order for a building to become LEED certified sustainability needs to be prioritized in design, construction, and use. One example of sustainable design would be including a certified wood like bamboo. Bamboo is fast growing and has an incredible replacement rate after being harvested. By far the most credits are rewarded for optimizing energy performance. This promotes innovative thinking about alternative forms of energy and encourages increased efficiency.

Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI)[edit]

Sustainable Sites Initiative, a combined effort of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden, is a voluntary national guideline and performance benchmark for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.[21] The building principles of SSI are to design with nature and culture, use a decision-making hierarchy of preservation, conservation, and regeneration, use a system thinking approach, provide regenerative systems, support a living process, use a collaborative and ethical approach, maintain integrity in leadership and research, and finally foster environmental stewardship. All of these help promote solutions to common environmental issues such as greenhouse gasesurban climate issues, water pollution and waste, energy consumption, and health and wellbeing of site users. The main focus is hydrology, soils, vegetation, materials, and human health and well being.

In SSI, the main goal for hydrology in sites is to protect and restore existing hydrologic functions. To design storm water features to be accessible to site users, and manage and clean water on site. For site design of soil and vegetation many steps can be done during the construction process to help minimize the urban heat island effects, to and minimize the building heating requirements by using plants.


As major focus of the sustainable cities, sustainable transportation attempts to reduce a city’s reliance and use of greenhouse emitting gases by utilizing eco friendly urban planning, low environmental impact vehicles, and residential proximity to create an urban center that has greater environmental responsibility and social equity.

Due to the significant impact that transportation services have on a city’s energy consumption, the last decade has seen an increasing emphasis on sustainable transportation by developmental experts. Currently, transportation systems account for nearly a quarter of the world’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission. In order to reduce the environmental impact caused by transportation in metropolitan areas, sustainable transportation has three widely agreed upon pillars that it utilizes to create more healthy and productive urban centers.[22]

The Carbon Trust states that there are three main ways cities can innovate to make transport more sustainable without increasing journey times – better land use planning, modal shift to encourage people to choose more efficient forms of transport, and making existing transport modes more efficient.[23]

Car free city[edit]

The concept of car free cities or a city with large pedestrian areas is often part of the design of a sustainable city. A large part of the carbon footprint of a city is generated by cars so the car free concept is often considered an integral part of the design of a sustainable city.

Emphasis on proximity[edit]

Created by eco friendly urban planning, the concept of urban proximity is an essential element of current and future sustainable transportation systems. This requires that cities be built and added onto with appropriate population and landmark density so that destinations are reached with reduced time in transit. This reduced time in transit allows for reduced fuel expenditure and also opens the door to alternative means of transportation such as bike riding and walking.[24]

Transportation in downtown Chicago

Furthermore, close proximity of residents and major landmarks allows for the creation of efficient public transportation by eliminating long sprawled out routes and reducing commute time. This in turn decreases the social cost to residents who choose to live in these cities by allowing them more time with families and friends instead by eliminating part of their commute time.

Diversity in modes of transportation[edit]

Sustainable transportation emphasizes the use of a diversity of fuel-efficient transportation vehicles in order to reduce greenhouse emissions and diversity fuel demand. Due to the increasingly expensive and volatile cost of energy, this strategy has become very important because it allows a way for city residents to be less susceptible to varying highs and lows in various energy prices.

Among the different modes of transportation, the use alternative energy cars and widespread installation of refueling stations has gained increasing importance, while the creation of centralized bike and walking paths remains a staple of the sustainable transportation movement.

Access to transportation[edit]

In order to maintain the aspect of social responsibility inherent within the concept of sustainable cities, implementing sustainable transportation must include access to transportation by all levels of society. Due to the fact that car and fuel cost are often too expensive for lower income urban residents, completing this aspect often revolves around efficient and accessible public transportation.

In order to make public transportation more accessible, the cost of rides must be affordable and stations must be located no more than walking distance in each part of the city. As studies have shown, this accessibility creates a great increase in social and productive opportunity for city residents. By allowing lower income residents cheap and available transportation, it allows for individuals to seek employment opportunities all over the urban center rather than simply the area in which they live. This in turn reduces unemployment and a number of associated social problems such as crime, drug use, and violence.[25]

Urban strategic planning[edit]

Although there is not an international policy regarding sustainable cities and there are not established international standards, there is an organization, the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) that is working to establish universal urban strategic guidelines. The UCLG a democratic and decentralized structure that operates in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East, West Asian and a Metropolitan section work to promote a more sustainable society.[26] The 60 members of the UCLG committee evaluate urban development strategies and debate theses experiences to make the best recommendations. Additionally, the UCLG accounts for differences in regional and national context. All the organizations are making a great effort to promote this concept by media and internet, and in conferences and workshops. An International conference was held in Italy at Università del Salento and Università degli Studi della Basilicata, called ‘Green Urbanism’, from 12–14 October 2016.


Recently, local and national governments and regional bodies such as the European Union have recognized the need for a holistic understanding of urban planning. This is instrumental to establishing an international policy that focuses on cities challenges and the role of the local authorities responses. Generally, in terms of urban planning, the responsibility of local governments are limited to land use and infrastructure provision excluding inclusive urban development strategies. The advantages of urban strategic planning include an increase in governance and cooperation that aids local governments in establishing performance based-management, clearly identifying the challenges facing local community and more effectively responding on a local level rather than national level, and improves institutional responses and local decision making.[26] Additionally, it increases dialogue between stakeholders and develops consensus-based solutions, establishing continuity between sustainability plans and change in local government; it places environmental issues as the priority for the sustainable development of cities and serves as a platform to develop concepts and new models of housing, energy and mobility.[26]


The City Development Strategies (CDS) addresses new challenges and provides space for innovative policies that involves all stakeholders. The inequality in spatial development and socio-economic classes paired with concerns of poverty reduction and climate changeare factors in achieving global sustainable cities. According to the UCLG there are differences between regional and national conditions, framework and practice that are overcome in the international commitment to communication and negotiation with other governments, communities and the private sector to continual to develop through innovative and participatory approaches in strategic decisions, building consensus and monitoring performance management and raising investment.

Social factors of sustainable cities[edit]

According to UN Habitat, around half of the world’s population is concentrated in cities, which is set to rise to 60% within a couple decades.[26] The UCLG has specifically identified 13 global challenges to establishing sustainable cities: demographic change and migration, globalisation of the job market, poverty and unmet Millennium Development Goals, segregation, spatial patterns and urban growth, metropolisation and the rise of urban regions, more political power for local authories, new actors for developing a city and providing services, decline in public funding for development, the environment and climate change, new and accessible building technologies, preparing for uncertainty and limits of growth and global communications and partnerships.

Sustainable city is located in Earth

Sustainable city

Location of UCLG’s headquarters in Barcelona, Spain




Urban forests

In Adelaide, South Australia (a city of 1.3 million people) Premier Mike Rann (2002 to 2011) launched an urban forest initiative in 2003 to plant 3 million native trees and shrubs by 2014 on 300 project sites across the metro area. The projects range from large habitat restoration projects to local biodiversity projects. Thousands of Adelaide citizens have participated in community planting days. Sites include parks, reserves, transport corridors, schools, water courses and coastline. Only trees native to the local area are planted to ensure genetic integrity. Premier Rann said the project aimed to beautify and cool the city and make it more liveable; improve air and water quality and reduce Adelaide’s greenhouse gas emissions by 600,000 tonnes of C02 a year. He said it was also about creating and conserving habitat for wildlife and preventing species loss.[27]

Solar power

The Rann government also launched an initiative for Adelaide to lead Australia in the take-up of solar power. In addition to Australia’s first ‘feed-in’ tariff to stimulate the purchase of solar panels for domestic roofs, the government committed millions of dollars to place arrays of solar panels on the roofs of public buildings such as the museum, art gallery, Parliament, Adelaide Airport, 200 schools and Australia’s biggest rooftop array on the roof of Adelaide Showgrounds’ convention hall which was registered as a power station.

Wind power

South Australia went from zero wind power in 2002 to wind power, making up 26% of its electricity generation by October 2011. In the five years preceding 2011 there was a 15% drop in emissions, despite strong economic growth.[28]

Waste recycling

For Adelaide the South Australian government also embraced a Zero Waste recycling strategy, achieving a recycling rate of nearly 80% by 2011 with 4.3 million tonnes of materials diverted from landfill to recycling. On a per capita basis this was the best result in Australia, the equivalent of preventing more than a million tonnes of C02 entering the atmosphere. In the 1970s container deposit legislation was introduced. Consumers are paid a 10 cent rebate on each bottle, can, or container they return to recycling. In 2009 non-reusable plastic bags used in supermarket checkouts were banned by the Rann Government, preventing 400 million plastic bags per year entering the litter stream. In 2010 Zero Waste SA was commended by a UN Habitat Report entitled ‘Solid Waste Management in the World Cities’.[29]


  • The City of Moreland in Melbourne‘s north has programs for becoming carbon neutral, one of which is Zero Carbon Moreland,[30] amongst other existing sustainable implementations and proposals.
  • City of Melbourne. Over the past 10 years, various methods of improving public transport have been implemented, as well as car free zones and entire streets.

City of Greater Taree, New South Wales[edit]

The City of Greater Taree north of Sydney has developed a masterplan for Australia’s first low-to-no carbon urban development.

Sustainable land management example. Flower domes in the gardens of Singapore.

Flower domes in the gardens of Singapore. An example of sustainable land management.


Belo Horizonte, Brazil was created in 1897 and is the third largest metropolis in Brazil, with 2.4 million inhabitants.[26] The Strategic Plan for Belo Horizonte (2010–2030) is being prepared by external consultants based on similar cities’ infrastructure, incorporating the role of local government, state government, city leaders and encouraging citizen participation. The need for environmental sustainable development is led by the initiative of new government following planning processes from the state government. Overall, the development of the metropolis is dependent on the land regularization and infrastructure improvement that will better support the cultural technology and economic landscape.


  • Bafut, is a town and traditional kingdom which is working towards becoming an eco-city by 2020, through the Bafut Council Eco-city Project.[31]


The GreenScore City Index studies the ecological footprints of Canadian cities and splits them into three population categories: large, medium, and small. The index[32] studies 50 cities in Canada.

  • Vancouver had 2016’s highest green score for large cities.
  • Burlington had 2016’s highest green score for medium cities.
  • Victoria had 2016’s highest green score for small cities.

Most cities in Canada have sustainability action plans which are easily searched and downloaded from city websites.


  • Tianjin: The Chinese are working with investment and technology supplied by the Singapore government to build an ecocity in Binhai, named the “Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city“.[33][34]
  • Dongtan Eco-city, Shanghai: The project, located in the east of Chongming Island developed by Arup and Parthers, was scheduled to accommodate 50,000 residents by 2010, but its developer has currently put construction on hold.[35] An additional project was made in 2007 in this area: an Eco-Village based on the concept made by an Italian professor from the School of Architecture of Tianjin University.
  • HuangbaiyuBenxiLiaoning is a small village of 42 homes that has come under great criticism: most of the homes are unoccupied by villagers.
  • Nanjing: As of April 2008, an ecocity collaboration project is being proposed here.
  • RizhaoShandong mandates solar water heaters for households, and has been designated the Environmental Model City by China’s SEPA.[36]:108
  • Chengdu Tianfu District Great City is a planned city located just outside Chengdu that is planned to be sustainable and has the goal of being a self-sustaining city that discourages the use of cars.[37]


Two comprehensive studies were carried out for the whole of Denmark in 2010 (The IDA Climate Plan 2050[38]) and 2011 (The Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy[39]). The studies analysed the benefits and obstacles of running Denmark on 100% renewable energy from the year 2050. There is also a larger, ambitious plan in action: the Copenhagen 2025 Climate Plan.

On a more local level, the industrial park in Kalundborg is often cited as a model for industrial ecology. However, projects have been carried out in several Danish cities promoting 100% renewable energy. Examples include Aalborg,[40] Ballerup[41] and Frederikshavn.[42]Aalborg University has launched a master education program on sustainable cities (Sustainable Cities @ Aalborg University Copenhagen[43]). See also the Danish Wikipedia.


The Finnish city of Turku has adopted a “Carbon Neutral Turku by 2040” strategy to achieve carbon neutrality via combining the goal with circular economy.[44]


No other country has built more eco-city projects than Germany.[citation needed] Freiburg im Breisgau is often referred to as a green city. It is one of the few cities with a Green mayor and is known for its strong solar energy industry. Vauban, Freiburg is a sustainable model district. All houses are built to a low energy consumption standard and the whole district is designed to be carfree. Another green district in Freiburg is Rieselfeld, where houses generate more energy than they consume. There are several other green sustainable city projects such as Kronsberg in Hannover and current developments around Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt.

Hong Kong[edit]

The government portrays the proposed Hung Shui Kiu new town as an eco-city. The same happened with the urban development plan on the site of the former Kai Tak Airport.


Auroville[45] was founded in 1968 with the intention of realizing human unity, and is now home to approximately 2,000 individuals from over 45 nations around the world. Its focus is its vibrant community culture and its expertise in renewable energy systems, habitat restoration, ecology skills, mindfulness practices, and holistic education.

Andhra Pradesh state New capital also coming up with a future sustainable city.


South Dublin County Council announced plans in late 2007 to develop Clonburris, a new suburb of Dublin to include up to 15,000 new homes, to be designed to achieve the highest of international standards.[46] The plans for Clonburris include countless green innovations such as high levels of energy efficiency, mandatory renewable energy for heating and electricity, the use of recycled and sustainable building materials, a district heating system for distributing heat, the provision of allotments for growing food, and even the banning of tumble driers, with natural drying areas being provided instead.[47]

In 2012 a energy plan was carried out by the Danish Aalborg University for the municipalities of Limerick and Clare. The project was a short-term 2020 renewable energy strategy giving a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions, while ensuring that short-term actions are beneficial to the long-term goal of 100% renewable energy.[48]



Songdo IBD is a planned city in Incheon which has incorporated a number of eco-friendly features. These include a central park irrigated with seawater, a subway line, bicycle lanes, rainwater catchment systems, and pneumatic waste collection system. 75% of the waste generated by the construction of the city will be recycled.

Gwanggyo City Centre is another planned sustainable city.[49]


As of 2014 a Low Carbon Cities programme is being piloted in Malaysia by KeTTHA, the Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) and the Carbon Trust.[50]

Malacca has a stated ambition to become a carbon-free city, taking steps towards creating a smart electricity grid. This is being done as part of an initiative to create a Green Special Economic Zone, where it is intended that as many as 20 research and development centers will be built focusing on renewable energy and clean technology, creating up to 300,000 new green jobs. [50]

The Federal Department of Town and Country Planning (FDTCP) in peninsular Malaysia is a focal point for the implementation of the Malaysian Urban Rural National Indicators Network for Sustainable Development (MURNInets)[51] MURNInets includes 36 sets of compulsory indicators grouped under 21 themes under six dimensions. Most of the targets and standards for the selected indicators were adjusted according to hierarchy of local authorities. In MURNInets at least three main new features are introduced. These include the Happiness Index, an indicator under the quality of life theme to meet the current development trend that emphasizes on the well-being of the community. Another feature introduced is the customer or people satisfaction level towards local authorities’ services. Through the introduction of these indicators the bottom-up approach in measuring sustainability is adopted.

New Zealand[edit]

The city of Waitakere, the western part of the greater Auckland urban region, was New Zealand’s first eco-city,[52] working from the Greenprint, a guiding document that the City Council developed in the early 1990s.


Clark Freeport Zone is a former United States Air Force base in the Philippines. It is located on the northwest side of Angeles City and on the west side of Mabalacat City in the province of Pampanga, about 40 miles (60 km) northwest of Metro Manila. A multi-billion project will convert the 36,000 hectare former Clark Air Force Base into a mix of industrial, commercial and institutional areas of green environment. The heart of the project is a 9,450-hectare metropolis dubbed as the “Clark Green City“. Builders will use the green building system for environmentally-friendly structures. Its facilities will tap renewable energy such as solar and hydro power.[53][54]


The organization Living PlanIT is currently constructing a city from scratch near Porto, Portugal. Buildings will be electronically connected to vehicles giving the user a sense of personal eco-friendliness.


  • Bilbao: The city faced economic turmoil following the decline of the steel and port industries but through communication between stakeholders and authorities to create inner-city transformation, the local government benefited from the increase in land value in old port areas. The Strategic Plan for the Revitalisation of Metropolitan Bibao was launched in 1922 and have flourished regenerating old steel and port industries. The conversion from depleted steel and port industries to one of Europe’s most flourishing markets is a prime example of a sustainable project in action.


United Arab Emirates[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

  • London Borough of Sutton is the first One Planet Region in the United Kingdom, with significant targets for reducing the ecological footprint of residents and creating the UK’s greenest borough.[56]
  • Middlesbrough is another One Planet Region in the United Kingdom.[57]
  • St Davids, the smallest city in the United Kingdom, aims to be the first carbon neutral city in the world.[58]
  • Leicester is the United Kingdom’s first environment city.[59]

United States[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Jump up^ “Sustainable City ICLEI Global”.
  2. Jump up^ Register, Richard (1987). Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future. North Atlantic Books.
  3. Jump up^ Lehmann, S. (2010) “Green urbanism: formulating a series of holistic principles”. S.A.P.I.EN.S. 3 (2)
  4. Jump up^ Joss, S. (2015). Sustainable Cities: Governing for Urban Innovation. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-00636-3
  5. Jump up^ Magilavy, Beryl. “Sustainability Plan”. Sustainable City. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  6. Jump up^ James, Paul; with Magee, Liam; Scerri, Andy; Steger, Manfred B. (2015). Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice: Circles of Sustainability. London: Routledge.
  7. Jump up^ “The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency”. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  8. Jump up^ IRENA (2016), Renewable Energy in Cities, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Abu Dhabi,
  9. Jump up^ Klein, Petra. “Establishment and performance of an experimental green roof under extreme climatic conditions”Science of The Total Environment. 512-513: 82–93. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.01.020 – via Science Direct.
  10. Jump up^ “Sustainable Transport”.
  11. Jump up^ Sino Singapore Tianjin Eco City KPI’s
  12. Jump up^ “SSI”.
  13. Jump up to:a b c d e f Lowe, Ernest A. 2001. Eco-industrial Park Handbook for Asian Developing Countries. A Report to Asian Development Bank, Environment Department, Indigo Development, Oakland, CA
  14. Jump up to:a b “Eco-Industrial Park Handbook for Asian Developing Countries”. Indigo Development. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  15. Jump up to:a b “What is Urban Agriculture?”. Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  16. Jump up^ Ewing, R “Growing Cooler – the Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change”. Retrieved on: 2009-03-16.
  17. Jump up^ “The Charter of the New Urbanism”. 20 April 2015.
  18. Jump up^ “Beauty, Humanism, Continuity between Past and Future”. Traditional Architecture Group. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  19. Jump up^ Issue Brief: Smart-Growth: Building Livable Communities. American Institute of Architects. Retrieved on 2014-03-23.
  20. Jump up^ “US Green Building Council”. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  21. Jump up^
  22. Jump up^ “Planning Transit”. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  23. Jump up^ “Sustainable transport in cities”. The Carbon Trust. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  24. Jump up^ “Public Transport Systems”. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  25. Jump up^ “Sustainable Transport City”. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  26. Jump up to:a b c d e “UCLG Policy Paper on Urban Strategic Planning”Policy Paper.
  27. Jump up^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2014-09-24. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
  28. Jump up^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
  29. Jump up^ “recycling, reuse, sustainability and waste avoidance in South Australia”. Zero Waste SA. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  30. Jump up^ Zero Carbon Moreland
  31. Jump up^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
  32. Jump up^ “Bio Capacity Edition”. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  33. Jump up^ Singapore’s Website of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city
  34. Jump up^ China’s Website of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city
  35. Jump up^ Montlake, Simon (23 December 2008). “In China, overambition reins in eco-city plans” – via Christian Science Monitor.
  36. Jump up^ Worldwatch Institute. (2007). State of the World : Our Urban Future.
  37. Jump up^ Davies, Alex (2 November 2012). “China Is Building A Huge Eco-City Where No One Will Need To Drive”Business Insider. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  38. Jump up^ The IDA Climate Plan 2050
  39. Jump up^ The Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy
  40. Jump up^ Aalborg University‘s catalog of publications
  41. Jump up^ Aalborg University’s catalog of publications
  42. Jump up^ University’s catalog of publications
  43. Jump up^ Sustainable Cities @ Aalborg University Copenhagen
  44. Jump up^ “Sustainable Development”. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  45. Jump up^ Auroville
  46. Jump up^ Clonburris
  47. Jump up^ Construct Ireland Ecology of Scale.
  48. Jump up^ University‘s catalogue of publications
  49. Jump up^ “MVRDV Designs Gwanggyo Green Power Center”.
  50. Jump up to:a b “Low carbon cities are the core of Malaysia’s green future”The Carbon Trust, Retrieved on 20 January 2015.
  51. Jump up^ Malaysian Urban Rural National Indicators Network for Sustainable Development (MURNInets)
  52. Jump up^ “Greenprint” (PDF). Waitakere City Council. February 1999.
  53. Jump up^ “From US base to ‘Green City’ – The Standard”. 2014-09-22. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  54. Jump up^ “Neda body clears Clark Green City – The Standard”. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  55. Jump up^ Stockholm Royal Seaport
  56. Jump up^ “One Planet Sutton”.
  57. Jump up^ Middlesbrough Council – Resident
  58. Jump up^ “”.
  59. Jump up^ Leicester City Council – Environment City
  60. Jump up^ Sonoma Mountain Village