I was trying to have as few candid posts on this blog as possible in order to make it a reliable resource and reference for folks who wish to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle in the city. My theory was that writing well planned posts for which I’d put in a good deal of research and effort would be the best way to do that. However, I am eager to post and rather than just move all my previous posts (from my old blog host) over at once, I’d like to get some fresh material here. So, here I go….What is an ecocity?
First off, I’m not entirely sure there is one accepted definition. Head over to Google and ask it to “define ecocity” and the results emphasize a Wikipedia submission:
A sustainable city, or eco-city is a city designed with consideration of environmental place inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane, and water pollution.
This definition is built from the original ideas of theorist and author Richard Register, who first coined the term ecocity in 1987 in his book Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future. On the website of Register’s non-profit, Ecocity Buildings, that definition is much more basic:
Simply put, an ecocity is an ecologically healthy city.
I like both of the definitions, but I think I rather prefer the simplicity of Register’s definition. Being the primary influence on my dedication to creating ecologically healthy cities, Richard Register has influenced me to take my passion to the heart of my design. Specifically, I want ever so much to help transform my hometown of Baltimore into an ecocity.
Adding to the definitions above, I believe ecological balance (which, of course, contributes to ecological health) is just important. Harmony with nature and dedicating space to non-human ecological activities will play a large part in my designs. I’m still trying to conjure up a clever new term- something that I can use as the name of my future design and consultation firm- but in the meantime, I’ll continue to refer to such cities as “ecocities.” The concept had been in my head since long ago, but I hadn’t really given it much depth until I first read one of Richard Register’s books- Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Harmony with Nature. It’s a terrific book and I recommend it to any creative-type, nature lover or urbanite- Well, I recommend it to everyone actually. But this book really helped me to define what my life goal was going to be. In the years since reading this book, I’ve tried to imagine what I have to do to make every city an ecocity.
Well I have the hardest time imagining the form of the ideal ecocity- I still can’t say I’ve done it. But over the years, I’ve tried. And oftentimes, I use drawing as a tool for developing my ideas. Below, you’ll see a few renderings I’ve created to illustrate an ecocity. I’m not entirely pleased as both drawings really just look like normal cities with just a bit more green, but my concept is a work in progress.
Megan Griffith working on her “Future Doodle” at the Doo Consulting Park(ing) Day space in Towson, MD. Photo courtesy of Doo Consulting.
Megan Griffith’s rendering of the urban shift- from industrial and dirty to clean and ecological.