The Ecocity Framework comprises 18 standards in four categories – urban design, bio-geophysical conditions, socio-cultural features and ecological imperatives. It is a diagnostic tool for cities and citizens to measure progress towards ecocity conditions. Designed for a wide range of users, including both novices and experts, the Framework charts a city’s steps forward — from existing conditions to “threshold” ecocity standards and beyond.
A city reaches Ecocity Level 1 when it achieves a positive score in all categories. This level in the Standards encompasses metrics tied to social justice and one-planet living, including food security, well-being, and carrying capacity. Measurement tools include the walk score, happiness index, ecological footprint and consumption-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There are two more levels – Ecocity Level 2 and Ecocity Level 3 – that are steps towards becoming a GAIA city. The concept of GAIA derives from earth’s holistic system of systems that is capable of maintaining a homeostatic (i.e., stable) state in which all life thrives.