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The Emergence and Spread of Eco-urban Developments Around the World
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1  Simon Fraser University

Published: 04 November 2014 by MDPI in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban and Rural Development
Abstract: Neighbourhood scale sustainability districts are coming to serve a growing role in urban sustainability strategies (Barton 2000; Barton et al. 1995; Taylor 2000; Winston 2009; Jabareen 2006). In modern times, efforts to construct sustainable alternative neighbourhood scale developments date back to isolated voluntary initiatives in 1970s Europe and the United States. In the past decade, however, ecodistricts, écoquartiers, eco-cities, zero/low-carbon/carbon-positive cities, ecopolises, One Planet Communities and solar cities, have become frames – sometimes the dominant frame -- used to justify and orient the construction of new pieces of city in a growing range of countries worldwide (Joss et al. 2013; Chang and Sheppard 2013). This paper documents our work to catalogue such eco-urban developments worldwide. The catalogue we have produced provides evidence that eco-urban developments today are part of a movement toward green global cosmopolitanism (Blok, 2012), but that nonetheless expresses itself in fragmented ways in different world regions. That is, eco-urban developments are being pursued, increasingly, based on standardized models and forms which are coming to redefine relevant and meaningful sustainability efforts in specific economic, political, social and design-based terms. In so doing, they are changing the solution set we associate with sustainable development and even the characterization of the problem of unsustainability at the same time as they change the face of our cities. Our catalogue of eco-urban developments around the world serves as a first step to a deeper understanding of these dynamics and trends at global and regional scales.
Keywords: Eco-urbanism; eco-districts; green building; sustainable neighborhood development