Ecological Integrity

ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY

Condition for an Ecocity

Essential linkages within and between ecosystems are maintained and provide contiguous habitat areas and ecological corridors.

Headline Indicator

[DRAFT] Elements include capability to regenerate

Description:
Ecological integrity refers to the capacity of life, be it an organism or ecosystem, to organize, regenerate, reproduce, and evolve itself (Pimental et al. 2000). For example, a desert ecosystem can withstand long periods of drought yet retain its integrity such that when the rains come, the desert blooms and the organisms that comprise its ecology flourish (Pimental et al. 2000). This enables the desert ecosystem to withstand the next drought.

Ecosystem integrity is closely tied to health. An ecosystem can be degraded, but so long as it has the ability to survive (meaning to reorganize, regenerate, reproduce, etc.), its integrity remains intact. Ecocities support ecological integrity by maintaining essential linkages within and between ecosystems (www.ecocitystandards.org). For example, ecocities concentrate development of built space within a compact area and provide contiguous habitat and ecological corridors that enable natural systems to thrive.

Living sustainably requires preserving ecosystem integrity (Pimental et al. 2000). Therefore, to be in balance with nature, ecocities require that both citizens and their cities operate within the ecological carrying capacity of the bioregion in which they are located as well as the global ecological carrying capacity of Earth. Trade offers opportunities to exchange information and materials with others from places both near and far. However, it is important that trade activities do not compromise the ecological integrity of bioregions (both locally and abroad) through depletion of resources or accumulation of wastes.


References:
Pimental, David, Laura Westra, Reed Noss. 2000. Ecological Integrity: Integrating Environment, Conservation, and Health. Washington DC: Island Press.

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

A rating of “B” equivalent near to its range of natural variability. Ecosystem components are maintained or restored across the bioregion.

Rationale:
An ecosystem that is within its natural range of variability has adapted over millennia and can be expected to continue to do so.

Earth’s Carrying Capacity

EARTH'S CARRYING CAPACITY

Condition for an Ecocity

Demands on ecosystems are within the limits of the Earth’s bio- capacity, resources are converted restoratively and support regional ecological integrity.

Headline Indicator

Ecological footprint that measures demand on nature's services relative to global (and regional) available biocapacity

Description:
An important ecocity condition is to live within ecological carrying capacity, specifically that “the city keeps its demand on ecosystems within the limits of the Earth’s biocapacity, converting resources restoratively and supporting regional ecological integrity” (www.ecocitystandards.org).

The ecological footprint measures whether we are living within ecological carrying capacity (www.footprintnetwork.org). An ecological footprint refers to the amount of land and sea area required to support a specified population at their current levels of affluence and technology (Wackernagel and Rees 1996). In short, it is a measure of demand on nature’s services relative to nature’s capacity to supply those services (i.e., its biocapacity).

The term “one-planet living” refers to a society that, on average, lives within Earth’s carrying capacity (www.oneplanetliving.org). It uses the ecological footprint to assess whether an individual or a society is living within average per -capita globally available biocapacity. If the world’s ecologically productive ecosystems were distributed across the global human population, such that each individual was attributed an equal share, and with approximately 12%
of total biocapacity set aside for nature, then each person would need to live within the ecologically productive capabilities of just 1.7 hectares of land and water area (Moore and Rees 2013).

While most of the world’s population achieves this goal, high consuming societies located mostly in Europe, North America, and Australia use much more. For example societies in Europe typically demand the ecologically productive capabilities of more than 4.5 hectares per capita while North Americans and Australians demand even more (WWF 2010). If everyone in the world lived the same way as these high consuming societies, we would need three to four additional earth-like planets to both supply the energy and resources demanded as well as absorb the wastes produced.

Since we only have one Earth, we need to learn how to live equitably within the ecological carrying capacity of this planet. Ecocities are an important part of the solution. Building cities that are compact, so as to eliminate the need and even desire to use a car, and designing the built-environment in such a way that it collects solar radiation, produces naturally ventilated spaces, harvests rainwater, and provides spaces for growing food and wildlife to flourish are all important steps.


References:
Moore, Jennie and William E. Rees. 2013. Getting to One-Planet Living, Chapter 4 in Linda Starke ed., State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? A Worldwatch Institute report. Washington DC: Island Press.
Register, Richard. 2006. Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.
Wackernagel, Mathis and William E. Rees. 1996. Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. Gabrioloa BC: New Society Publishers.
WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). 2010. Living Planet Report 2010: Ecological Footprint Index. Online resource (http://www.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/ living_planet_report/2010_lpr/).

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

1.15 gh/capita

Rationale:
In one year, humans are consuming renewable resources that take over 1.5 years to regenerate. The ecological footprint is divided into food, buildings, consumables and waste, transportation, and water. Setting a limit for the use of renewable ecological services can be directly related to energy efficiency and waste management in cities. A healthy environment is one in which the human demand for ecological services has a low impact in the supply of those services by nature.

Healthy Biodiversity

HEALTHY BIODIVERSITY

Condition for an Ecocity

Biodiversity of local, bioregional and global ecosystems is sustained, including species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity; natural habitat and biodiversity is restored.

Headline Indicator

Number of representative keystone species in bioregion where city is located and from where city draws sustenance

Description:
Biodiversity refers to the vast array of species, both flora and fauna, that populate the Earth. Their interactions create the ecosystems upon which we depend, characterized by various biomes including: deserts, rainforests, grasslands, and coral reefs (Newman and Jennings 2008).

Healthy biodiversity needs intact nutrient cycles, no net loss of soils, and no accumulation of pollutants (in soil, air or water). Although approximately 12% of Earth’s wild places have been dedicated as natural reserves, global change processes, including climate change, mean that the systemic conditions needed for these places to thrive are being undermined. Biodiversity losses are being driven in part by urbanization processes that fragment natural habitats and nutrient cycles, deplete soils and aquifers, and increase pollution levels (Newman and Jennings 2008).

To achieve the “Ecocity: Level 1 Condition” requires that the geo-physical and socio-cultural features of a city are in harmony with its surrounding bioregion (www.ecocitystandards.org). This means that indigenous flora and fauna are allowed to flourish. Equally important, ecocities do not draw down the resources or increase pollution levels in areas outside the bioregion either. This could happen through trade imbalances and/or taking advantage of global common resources, such as the waste sink capacities of oceans and atmosphere. Therefore, ecocities are concerned both with preserving and enabling healthy biodiversity in their bioregion as well as in the world generally.

The ecocity vision includes tightly clustered development immediately adjacent to naturally preserved areas (Register 2006). This allows people to experience nature at their doorstep despite living in high-density urban environments. By shifting from sprawl to compact development, ecocities leave room for regeneration of natural and agricultural landscapes, specifically focusing on rebuilding soils, naturally sequestering carbon, daylighting streams, and recreating wetlands and aquatic sediments. Ecocities also utilize clean and renewable energy, healthy and accessible food, and responsible resources and materials. These choices support stewardship of natural resources within and outside the city, including in remote locations.

Biomimicry, which refers to design informed by nature, can also support healthy biodiversity. For example, Alan Savory’s work on natural carbon sequestration through compact herding of cattle to regenerate grasslands was inspired by watching the impacts of migratory wildebeest in Africa. Natural carbon sequestration techniques could also be applied in forests, peatlands, wetlands, aquatic and marine environments.


References:
Newman, Peter and Isabella Jennings. 2008. Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems:
Principles and Practices. Washington DC: Island Press.
Register, Richard. 2006. Ecocities: Redesigning Cities in Balance with Nature. Gabriola
BC: New Society Publishers.
Sullivan, Colin and Climate Wire. 2013. Can Livestock Grazing Stop Desertification? Scientific American, March 5 (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-livestock- grazing-stop-desertification/).

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

Critical ecological processes are intact and functioning. | EC 1: ecological processes are not drawing down on natural capital. | Gaia: ecological processes are being restored.

Rationale:
Intact and functioning ecological processes of a bioregion is a holistic way of measuring healthy biodiversity. As it may be difficult to measure ecological processes, measuring keystone species (e.g. orcas, salmon in Vancouver’s bioregion) may  be a useful indicator.

Quality of Life

QUALITY OF LIFE / WELLBEING

Condition for an Ecocity

Residents report satisfaction with their quality of life including employment, the built, natural and landscaped environment, physical and mental health, education, safety, recreation and leisure, and social belonging.

Headline Indicator

Percentage of population with access to means of self-sufficient living

Description:
Human well-being depends on access to resources sufficient to lead a dignified life (Raworth 2013). This includes access to natural resources such as clean air, water and energy, as well as nutritious food. It also includes access to social resources including education, healthcare, employment and recreation, participation in decisions that affect one’s life, and freedom from persecution for one’s beliefs.

Ecocities not only support well-being and quality of life through provision of affordable shelter and services, they also enable people to: access jobs close to where they live, breath clean air in car-free cities, and enjoy nature at their doorstep (Register 2006). This is achieved through compact design of the built environment that takes advantage of roof-tops (e.g., for parks and restaurants) and spaces below ground (e.g., for storage and shopping). Landscaped environments at grade blend with the natural environment to foster ecological connections that invite nature into the city (Register 2006).

Residents of ecocities enjoy a high quality of life regardless of their socio- economic status. This means that social services are provided based on need, not just an ability to pay.

An important measure for well-being is the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). Invented by Redefining Progress in 1995, the GPI considers changes in income distribution, volunteerism, crime, pollution and resource depletion as factors that affect quality of life (Redefining Progress 2013). This stands in contrast to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which measures the sum of a nation’s financial transactions, but does not consider whether those contribute or detract from the well-being of citizens, particularly those who are most vulnerable.


References:
Raworth, Kate. 2013. Defining a Safe and Just Space for Humanity, Chapter 3 in Linda Starke, ed., State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? A Worldwatch Institute report. Washington DC: Island Press.
Redefining Progress. 2013. Sustainability Indicators: Genuine Progress Indicator. Online resource (http://rprogress.org/sustainability_indicators/genuine_progress_indicator.htm).
Register, Richard. 2006. Ecocities: Building Cities in Balance with Nature. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers.
Register, Richard. 1987. Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future. Berkeley Ca: North Atlantic Books.

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

Coming soon

Rationale:
Coming soon.

Lifelong Education

LIFELONG EDUCATION

Condition for an Ecocity

Residents have access to lifelong education including access to information about history of place, culture, ecology, and tradition provided through formal and informal education, vocational training and other social institutions.

Headline Indicator

Percentage of literacy for men and women

Description:
Access to education is a fundamental human right (People’s Movement for Human Rights Education 2013). Knowledge of one’s home place provides both an important context for self-identity and can instill an ethic of care to steward that which sustains us (Martin and Beatley 1993).

Bioregionalism provides an orientation to our home place that is informed by nature. Specifically, the watershed provides a framework for locating and learning about the ecological processes that support our cities and villages. The concept and term, originally introduced by Peter Berg in the 1960s, remains an underlying premise for ecocity development (Register 2006).

Ecocity mapping is an important tool for locating centers of vitality within a city, where density and a mix of services to support complete community development should be concentrated. Bioregional mapping expands the scope of social learning to include an understanding of the ecological processes in the territory that surrounds clusters of eco: villages, towns, and cities (together they comprise an “ecotropolis”). Engaging communities in mapping their bioregion contributes to eco-literacy and the development of a healthy culture (Aberley 1993, 1994; Carr 2004).

David Orr (2004, 11) suggests that “it is possible that we are becoming more ignorant of the things we must know to live well and sustainably.” This includes knowledge about socio-cultural history in addition to knowledge about locally appropriate technologies for securing sustenance and stewarding local resources. In a globalizing world, local knowledge is important but potentially insufficient as well. Michael Maniates (2013) argues that it is also important to learn about the political processes and international relations that shape the global processes that shape our world. Without a broader understanding of these things, the ability to use local knowledge may risk being overwhelmed in the face of turbulent times that are to come.

Lifelong education that fuels a desire to learn and helps one understand both how to live in place as well as how to contribute to a changing global world is an important aspect of building, sustaining and living in ecocities.


References:
Aberley, Doug. 1993. Boundaries of Home: Mapping for Local Empowerment. Gabriola
Island, BC: New Society Publishers.
Aberley, Doug. 1994. Futures by Design: The Practice of Ecological Planning. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.
Carr, Michael. 2004. Bioregionalism and Civil Society: Democratic Challenges to Corporate Globalism. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Maniates, Michael. 2013. Teaching for Turbulence, Chapter 24 in Linda Starke, ed., State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? A Worldwatch Institute report. Washington DC: Island Press.
Martin, E., T. Beatley. 1993. Our Relationship with the Earth: Environmental Ethics in Planning Education, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 12, pp. 117-26.
Orr, David. 2004. Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect. Washington DC: Island Press.
Peoples Movement for Human Rights Education. The Human Right to Education. Online resource (http://pdhre.org/rights/education.html).
Register, Richard. 2006. Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

Coming soon

Rationale:
Coming soon.

Healthy and Equitable Economy

HEALTHY AND EQUITABLE ECONOMY

Condition for an Ecocity

The city’s economy consistently favors economic activities that reduce harm and positively benefit the environment and human health and support a high level of local and equitable employment options.

Headline Indicator

Income disparity as measured by the GINI coefficient

Description:
Ecocities support economic activities that reduce harm and positively contribute to both environmental and human health (www.ecocitystandards.org). This includes efforts to reduce emissions to air and atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels, avoiding the use of toxic chemicals applied to soils or discharged to receiving waters where they can bio-accumulate in animals and plants, and supporting locally and organically produced foods and renewable energy sources.
Ecocities also support local and equitable employment options integrated within the design of the city. For example, the layout of land uses as well as the city’s policy framework play an important role in: a) making jobs and housing accessible and b) ensuring that companies comply with environmental protection legislation. This approach sets the foundation for “green jobs” and “ecological-economic development” that contribute positively to the city and its residents without causing harm to the ecosystems upon which they depend.

Cities such as Curitiba, and Copenhagen have advanced a healthy and equitable economy by placing emphasis on dense, lively centres and a more equitable transportation system, one that promotes accessibility by everyone not just those who can afford a car (Goodman et al. 2005; Nelson 2007). For example, these cities implemented integrated land use and transportation demand management strategies including increases in density of both jobs and housing close to transit services with expansion of pedestrian, bicycle and transportation infrastructure and restrictions on motor vehicle use.

Whereas many cities focus on economic growth to achieve prosperity, research shows that equity is more strongly correlated with health and social improvement (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009). This is particularly true for developed economies where most of the population’s basic needs for food and shelter are already met.
Governments that achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth and invest in social services, including education, achieve higher levels of development while simultaneously keeping their demand on nature’s services low. For example, countries such as Cuba and Ecuador obtain similar longevity and literacy levels as the USA but at a fraction of the per capita energy and materials consumption (Moore and Rees 2013). Germany and Japan surpass the USA in terms of quality of life (e.g., human health and social wellbeing) while simultaneously consuming less (Moore and Rees 2013; Wilkinson and Pickett 2009).


References:
Goodman, Joseph, Melissa Laube, Judith Schwenk. 2005. Curitiba’s Bus System is Model for Rapid Transit, Race, Poverty and the Environment, Winter 2005-2006, pp. 75 -76 (http://urbanhabitat.org/node/344).
Moore, Jennie and W.E. Rees. 2013. Getting to One-Planet Living, Chapter 4 in Linda Starke ed., State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? A Worldwatch Institute report. Washington DC: Island Press.
Nelson, Alyse. 2007. Livable Copenhagen: The Design of a Bicycle City. Seattle WA: University of Washington (http://greenfutures.washington.edu/pdf/ Livable_Copenhagen_reduced.pdf).
Wackernagel, Mathis and William E. Rees. 1996. Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. Gabrioloa BC: New Society Publishers.
Wilkinson, Richard and Kate Pickett. 2009. The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

Coming soon

Rationale:
Coming soon.

Community Capacity/Governance

COMMUNITY CAPACITY / GOVERNANCE

Condition for an Ecocity

Full and equitable community participation is supported in decision making processes along with legal, physical and organizational support for neighborhoods, community organizations, institutions and agencies to enhance their capacities.

Headline Indicator

Percentage of population that participates in decisions that affect them

Description:
The IES identifies “community capacity building” as an important socio-cultural feature. Specifically, the IES notes that a city that builds community capacity is one that “supports full and equitable community participation in decision- making processes and provides the legal, physical and organizational support for neighborhoods, community organizations, institutions and agencies to enhance their capacities” (www.ecocitystandards.org).

Capacity in this context refers to the actual or potential ability to act. Action in an ecocity is informed by ethics, not only an environmental ethic, but an ethic of care as well. A society’s caring capacity is arguably the cornerstone of sustainability. Morality expressed as an ethic of care towards each other in the form of social justice and toward the planet in the form of environmental stewardship is the hallmark of a sustainable society.

In a study contrasting the effectiveness of regional governments in northern and southern Italy, Robert Putnam (1993) found that societies that care for each other also achieve fuller participation in decision-making processes. He qualifies caring societies as having a high degree of social capital. This is a fancy term for good social relations, predicated on familiarity, trust and reciprocity, integrity and accountability. Mark Roseland (2012) sees social capital as an important feature of “community capital, and is developing tools to help cities measure it. Mike Carr (2004) sees social capital as contributing to both bioregionalism and civil society.

The socio-political dimensions of an ecocity reflect the cultural values of the people who live in it. These values shape the political process and emergence of governing regimes. Ecocities depend on democratic participatory processes that enable citizens to participate in decisions that affect the places in which they live (Register 1987, 2006). Building community capacity, therefore, can be seen as an important starting point not only for building ecocities, but also for transitioning to the Ecozoic era.


References:
Carr, Mike. 2004. Bioregionalism and Civil Society: Democratic Challenges to Corporate
Globalism. Vancouver BC: University of British Columbia Press.
Putnam, Robert, Robert Leonardi, Raeffaell Nanetti. 1993. Making Democracy Work:
Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Roseland, Mark, ed. 2012. Towards Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and their Governments. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers.

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

Coming soon

Rationale:
Coming soon.

Healthy Culture

HEALTHY CULTURE

Condition for an Ecocity

Cultural activities that strengthen eco-literacy, patterns of human knowledge and creative expression are facilitated, symbolic thought and social learning is developed.

Headline Indicator

[DRAFT] Elements include trust, sense of place, eco-literacy, inclusion, and identity

Description:
The IES identifies “healthy culture” as one of the 15 essential conditions of an ecocity. Specifically, “an ecocity facilitates cultural activities that strengthen eco-literacy, patterns of human knowledge and creative expression, develops symbolic thought and social learning” (www.ecocitystandards.org).
There is an iterative relationship between culture and its expression in the built environment. We build what we believe, and as we build so shall we live (Register 2006). Therefore, whether a society values the ecological systems upon which it depends becomes evident through the treatment of local ecology within the city and the design of the built environment in relationship to it. Examples include i) preservation of urban streams and natural topographical features, ii) buildings that are energy efficient and orient to the sun or create shade as local climatic conditions require, iii) public spaces that provide opportunities for relaxation and “re-creation” and also function as green corridors or buffer zones to support habitat protection and food production.

Of course, a city’s ecological dependence also rests with its surrounding bio- region and other areas scattered all around the world whence it draws energy and resources. The ways that an ecocity facilitates cultural activities that strengthen eco-literacy with regard to these “urban ecosystem relationships” is critically important (Rees 2010). Indeed, a healthy culture is one that can regenerate itself and adapt according to changing circumstances (Diamond 2005). Like the city, the culture that built it is also “a living system of human relationships that expresses itself in language, arts, tool-making and social organization, including politics and economics” (Downton 2012). Downton uses the geometric notion of “fractals” to explore how healthy culture can both develop and scale-up across a city. A fractal contains within it all the essential characteristics of the larger whole of which it is a part. A small community that contains the values and governance structure essential to a healthy culture can create and re-create an ecocity over time.


References:
Register, Richard. 2006. Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature. Gabriola
Island BC: New Society Publishers.
Rees, William E. 2010. Getting Serious About Urban Sustainability: Eco-footprints and the Vulnerability of 21st Century Cities, Chapter 5 in Trudi Bunting, Pierre Filion, and Ryan Walker (eds.), Canadian Cities in Transition: New Directions in the 21st Century. Fourth edition. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.
Diamond, Jared. 2005. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking Press.
Downton, Paul. 2012. Neighbourhoods and Urban Fractals – the building blocks of sustainable cities, posted on October 17 in The Nature of Cities. Online resource (http:// www.thenatureofcities.com/2012/10/17/neighborhoods-and-urban-fractals-the-building- blocks-of-sustainable-cities/).

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

Coming soon

Rationale:
Coming soon.

Healthy and Accessible Food

HEALTHY AND ACCESSIBLE FOOD

Condition for an Ecocity

Sufficient amounts of healthy and nutritious food are accessible to all and are grown, manufactured, distributed and recycled by processes which maintain the healthy function of ecosystems and do not exacerbate climate change.

Headline Indicator

Percentage of diet that is plant based

Description:
Uneven access to healthy and nutritious food is a global phenomenon – witness: many North Americans’ struggle with obesity while many Africans’ starve. Food often comprises the largest component of a city’s ecological footprint, and agriculture contributes 10-12% of global greenhouse gas emissions (FAO 2009). Recent studies indicate that the type of food (e.g., meat) and the way it is processed have a greater environmental impact than the overall distance food travels (i.e., food miles) and the total amount consumed (Webber and Mathews 2008).

The IES calls for nutritious food that is accessible and affordable to all residents and is grown, manufactured and distributed by processes which maintain the healthy function of ecosystems and do not exacerbate climate change. Food consumed is primarily grown within the local bioregion.

Ecocities enable access to healthy and nutritious food through zoning of land dedicated to agricultural production both within the city and at its periphery. This could include greenbelts and areas adjacent to natural parks, formation of contiguous open space and green corridors, community gardens, home-based agriculture, street-side gardens, etc. Community-based programs such as fruit- tree harvest and crop-sharing initiatives further enable people to access the bounty of urban agriculture. Food hubs and farmers’ markets can provide the means for food producers to access local markets directly. More broadly based agriculture activity, including farms and orchards that surround the city, can enable access to bioregionally based food supplies as well. Rooftops and terraces can also be used for local food production, including raising small animals such as chickens and rabbits. Ground-oriented buildings and sheds, including court-yards, and even below-grade structures such as cisterns can be used for local farming including aquaculture (Todd and Todd 1994).

Although density can produce a more efficient pattern of living through, for example, access by proximity to services, it also concentrates demand. In the case of food, access to retail venues is increased, but careful design is required to ensure that access to the means of food production is not eliminated. Where demand for food by an urban population exceeds the capacity of the local bioregion, the importance of policies that shape demand for organic and fairly traded foods become increasingly important. The success of organic food retailers demonstrates that many people in Western society are willing to pay a premium for ethically and organically produced food. Still many others find these types of products too expensive to purchase on a daily basis.

Some cities are beginning to map food access and finding that parts of the city are virtual nutrition deserts. Understanding the population’s nutritional needs and planning for access to healthy and nutritious food is an important strategy that can help communities move toward achieving this important IES principle.


References:
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 2009. Low Greenhouse Gas Agriculture: Mitigation and Adaptation Potential of Sustainable Farming Systems (ftp://ftp.fao.org/ docrep/fao/010/ai781e/ai781e00.pdf).
Todd, Nancy Jack and John Todd. 1994. From Eco-Cities to Living Machines: Principles of Ecological Design. Berkeley Cal: North Atlantic Books.
Webber, Christopher and H. Scott Mathews. 2008. Food-miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States, Environment, Science, and Technology, Vol. 42, Issue 10, pp. 3508-3513.

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

Ecocity Level 1 = 90%

Rationale:
Based on Moore’s research (Moore 2015, p 8) no more than 21 kg of a 548kg one-planet diet would be meat, or roughly 4%. Consequently, a one planet diet would be 96% or higher plant based, (keeping in mind that this does not guarantee proper caloric or nutrient intake for human health.)

Clean and Renewable Energy

CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

Condition for an Ecocity

Energy is provided for, and extracted, generated and consumed without significant negative impact to ecosystems or to short or long- term human health and does not exacerbate climate change.

Headline Indicator

Percentage of total energy that is renewable

Description:
Fossil-based energy, i.e., coal, oil and gas, enable construction and operation of modern cities. High-rise buildings, mega-infrastructure, motor-vehicle transportation, and the importation of resources from widely dispersed hinterlands are all possible and essential in a global economy. Side effects, however, include local air pollution that can cause respiratory problems, depletion of global resources, and atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases.

The IES calls for clean and renewable energy that avoids negative impacts to ecosystems and the atmosphere, as well as human health in both the short and long-term. Energy consumed is also primarily generated within the local bioregion.
To achieve the Clean and Renewable Energy principle articulated in the IES requires re-thinking the way that modern cities are constructed and operated. Much can be achieved through better design of urban environments that enable dense mixing of residential and commercial land uses to create “access by proximity.” Urban right-of-ways coupled with intelligent design of buildings can create passive daylight penetration and shading according to the needs of the local climate. Thinking of buildings as an extension of the infrastructure system also reveals opportunities for waste-heat exchange, rainwater collection, and food growing opportunities (e.g., on rooftops). These approaches can help reduce the urban energy load by at least 40% (Walker and Rees 1997; Rees 2010).

The challenge of generating most of a city’s energy within its bioregion depends largely on three factors: i) the natural resources of the bioregion including its geophysical characteristics, ii) the design of the built environment including a variety of land uses, and iii) the socio-cultural demands of urban residents. These elements are the starting points for determining the supply and demand of the energy balance within the bioregion.

Clean and renewable energy sources include: sun, wind, water (e.g., tides, currents and gravity to produce hydropower), and biomass (ideally from waste sources including wood, crop residues and animal dung). Natural gas can also be generated from fermenting biomass, e.g., anaerobic processes that decompose food wastes. However, not all bioregions are created equal from a resource endowment perspective. Thanks to the availability of fossil fuels, many bioregions that are not well-suited to supporting large concentrations of people are now home to millions. Examples include desert cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix in North America and Dubai in the Middle-East.

The socio-cultural demands of urban residents also play an important role. These are influenced to a great extent by income, driven by desires for luxury and status. Technology can help cities make more efficient use of available resources, but whether residents choose to live within the existing carrying capacity of the bioregion is largely a matter of personal choice if the financial means to exceed carrying capacity are within reach. Ecological footprint analysis reveals that most of a city’s energy metabolism is associated with its residents’ consumption of goods and services (Rees 2010).


References:
Walker, L. and W.E. Rees. 1997. Urban Density and Ecological Footprints: An Analysis of Canadian Households, Chapter 8 in M. Roseland, ed., Eco-City Dimensions: Healthy Communities, Healthy Planet. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers.
Rees, W.E. 2010. Getting Serious about Urban Sustainability: Eco-Footprints and the Vulnerability of Twenty-First-Century Cities, Chapter 5 in T. Bunting, P. Filion, and R. Walker, eds., Canadian Cities in Transition: New Directions in the Twenty-First Century. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Ecocity Level 1 Benchmark

X tons/Population = N. tons of oil/capita

Rationale:

  • Measuring: GJ/ Fossil fuels/capita/yr
  • Equitable
  • Renewable energy
  • Non-polluting
  • Embodied
  • Could be achieved by reducing consumption or by increasing clean energy
  • 2 tons of fossil fuels per year consumption per person for 1 Earth usage
  • 90% of energy produced by renewable sources isn’t a good measure because it isn’t equal usage across different cities and countries
  • 2 T is within current (2016) carrying capacity
  • Can’t apply 90% to the city level, percentage doesn’t work

Population affects the amount allowed, benchmark would have to be recalculated each year
Equation →
o x/Population of the world = max/capita
o 2T/capita = max