The Society for Urban Ecology (SURE)
WG Ecocities

During the 1st SURE Conference on Urban Ecology in Berlin (July 24-27, 2013) the 1st SURE Working Group ‚Ecocities‘ was founded by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Breuste, Salzburg, Austria, president of SURE.

We are already 14 interested SURE members from three continents. We are open for further interested persons who want to contribute to our subject.

Please contact the leaders of the working groups:

Rahimi Akbar (SURE Executive Committee Member)

Jürgen Breuste (SURE President)

Cristian Ioja (SURE Treasurer)

Luis Inostroza

Cigdem Coskun Hepcan (SURE Executive Committee Member)

First we only want to initiate the discussion among us about the subject. The subjects and work forms will only depend on our members. We start the discussion with the general idea that the subjects ‘Ecocities’ is highly important, has worldwide raised interest and is often politically or technically limited used.

A scientific urban ecological approach has to be developed, based on clearly to define indicators, relevant for different cultural and ecological conditions on earth. We also have to care for a better implementation of ecological knowledge for ‘Ecocities’

I very much hope that many share these ideas with me and that you are interested to develop further ideas together with me.

Kind regards,

Jürgen Breuste


Ecocity “Solar City” Linz (Austria) Foto: Jürgen Breuste


Eco-Cities – Indicators, Design, Planning and Management


The last meeting was during the SURE Workshop on 5th September 2019 – The challenging urban nature and nature’s role in URban challEnges in Bucharest, Romania.

Actual steering group.

– Jürgen Breuste, Salzburg, Austria

– Meryem Hayir Kanat, Istanbul, Turkey

– Cigdem Coskun Hepcan, Izmir, Turkey

– Cristian Ioja, Bucharest, Romania

– Akbar Rahimi, Tabriz, Iran

– Henry Garay Sarast, Bogota, Colombia

“A human settlement modeled on the self-sustaining resilient structure and function of natural ecosystems”, was defined by the Ecocity Builders (a non-profit organization started by Richard Register who first coined the term) (Ecocity Builders) as an eco-city. In this way, an eco-city is an ecologically healthy city. The World Bank defines eco-cities as “cities that enhance the well-being of citizens and society through integrated urban planning and management that harness the benefits of ecological systems and protect and nurture these assets for future generations” (Suzuki et al. 2010).

Among available definitions, there is some consensus on the basic features of an eco-city.

– Eco-cities based on new-build developments, especially in developing nations and mostly in China

– Eco-cities as existing cities with eco approaches, often selected ones, to develop districts or parts of them.

The following requirements are often described for eco-cities:

– Is in balance with nature

– Develops and benefits from ecosystem services and biodiversity of urban nature

– Is entirely carbon-neutral by promoting techniques like the use and production of renewable energy

– Is established over a well-planned city layout that promotes walkability, biking and the use of public transportation systems

– Promotes conservation of resource by maximizing water efficiency and energy efficiency, while managing an ecologically beneficial waste management system that promotes recycling and reuse to create a zero-waste system

– Restores environmentally damaged urban areas

– Supports local agriculture and produce

– Supports future progress and expansion over time.

Chulalongkorn Century Park, Bangkok, photo J Breuste 2018

Chulalongkorn Century Park, Bangkok (Thailand) Foto: Jürgen Breuste 2018

Examples are the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city project and the Abu Dhabi Masdar City project, to smaller-scale urban revitalization and establishment of urban wetlands and rivers, urban forests, eco-districts, eco-parks, green roofs etc.

The SURE Working Group will bring researchers, students, designers, planners, managers and decision makers of different professions and approaches together to

– Develop criteria for eco-cities to evaluate them on different scales,

– Discuss locally implantable approaches,

– Support local actions, and

– To improve design, planning, management.

For these targets local, regional and world-wide events as workshops, symposia, summer schools and projects will be initiated. The partners will provide internships.


Ecocity Builders  (2009) “What is an Ecocity?” Accecced 2018-12-09

Suzuki H, Dastur A, Moffatt S, Yabuki N, Maruyama H (2010) Eco2 Cities.Ecological Cities as Economic Cities. Washington DC. .  Accessed 2019-07-14

Contacts by e-mail: