What’s an Eco-City?

The University of Washington’s landscape architecture department has put together a symposium that will explore the idea of the Eco-City. In “Next Eco-City,” a range of leading landscape theorists and practitioners like Kristina Hill, Affiliate ASLA, Pierre Belanger, ASLA, and Yu Kongjian, International ASLA, will cover how the Eco-City concept has evolved with increased urbanization and rapid globalization. 

The conference organizers argue that “urban environments worldwide are in the midst of multiple shifts, driven by interconnected flows in capital, people, and resources at local, regional and global scales. It impacts not only cities but also the network of social and ecological systems well beyond their borders.”

Despite the fact that a true Eco-City has never really existed, the idea continues to have legs, and has perservered as a potential solution to global challenges. “In contrast to the complexity of today’s urbanization, the concept of the ‘Eco-City,’ arguably dating back to the ideal of the 19th Century Garden City, seems like an overly simplistic and utopian vision. Yet, the imagery and language of an idealized ‘Eco-City’ continue to shape the planning and design of contemporary cities while disregarding the vital complexity of contemporary urban conditions and issues.”

The symposium will look into “emergent ecologies, cities, and tactics.” Emergent ecologies will explore the “relationships between environment, equity, economy, and design in our rapidly urbanizing world.” The cities talk will cover the “dynamics and implications of rapid urban growth in the emerging mega-cities of the global south,” while the discussion  on tactics will look into “how seeing the urban landscape as a set of […] matrices with interconnected and spontaneous possibilities can inspire new approaches and methods in design and implementation.”

The symposium will be held April 7-8 at the University of Washington’s campus in Seattle. General registration is $30. Learn more about the program and register.

Also, for those in the Washington, D.C. area: check out the Society of Ecological Restoration’s Mid-Atlantic conference, “Brave New World: Working with Emerging Ecosystems.” A group of landscape architects, ecologists, biologists, and conservation scientists will explore the latest in ecological design. There’s also a set of field tours, including ones for the Anacostia Riverfront, Potomac Gorge, and the U.S. Botanic Garden. The conference will be held April 1-2 at the University of Maryland, College Park. Fees are $105 and $50 for students.

Image credit: Masdar City, U.A.E. / Masdarcity.com

One thought on “What’s an Eco-City?

  1. Davide Tocchetto 03/24/2011 / 12:38 pm

    Well, I’m sure that this kind of “new eco-cities” will use all the green technologies that allow a low energy usage, an excellent quality life, an urban solid-waste reuse plan, a good and self-sufficiency food production for all the people that will works and live there. I like very much Masdar project, very beautiful and complete!
    But what about water? Why there are always considered a desalination plant for the production of water for potable and not potable use? Desalination costs! why not reuse treated wastewaters for irrigation? for farm’s fields watering? A city with 100,000 inhabitant produce 20,000 cubic meters of wastewaters a day and after a traditional treatment plants plus a treatment wetland system you can obtain 14000 mc/d of new water that could be used again for a lot of aims.
    Yes, solar panel! Yes, electric machine! Yes, sustainability.. but don’t forget to reuse the waters…. why discharge treated waters when you can use it again?

    enjoy the symposium


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