Ecocity Framework & Standards


The Ecocity Framework & Standards (EFS) initiative seeks to provide an innovative vision for an ecologically restorative human civilization as well as a practical methodology for assessing and guiding progress towards the goal.

Why Ecocity Standards?

Cities and towns around the world are interested in the ecocity model. However, there is enormous diversity in how ecocities are built, including the level of performance that existing initiatives achieve. This concern with accountability, meaning the ability to achieve ecocity objectives for reducing human impact on the earth while simultaneously advancing socially just and livable human habitats, served as the impetus for development of these standards. The goal is to provide support and criteria by which cities can adopt measures that would enable them to successfully move toward becoming ecocities while simultaneously driving innovation and improvement in urban performance measurement and management.

Who is behind the Ecocity Standards?

Led by Ecocity Builders, the Ecocity Standards are continuously refined with input from its global network of partner advisers and ecocity advocates. Participating cities are guided by local governments and experts committed to a whole-systems improvement process to assess their ecological condition.

How it Works

The framework charts a city’s steps forward on a range of important measures, from “Unhealthy” through multiple levels of “Greener City” and “Ecocity” to the whole earth level “Gaia,” providing the network, methodology and tools to assess its performance along 18 dimensions organized through four fundamental urban pillars. Since all measures are important, a city will only reach Ecocity status when it achieves an “Ecocity” or higher designation in all categories. For more info, visit the Ecocity Standards website.

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The Four Pillars

Urban Design

The city is designed and developed with the underlying principle of access by proximity, providing residents with walkable access to open/green spaces, basic urban services, and affordable housing. It demonstrates environmentally friendly transport options and provides walking and transit access to close-by employment.


The city commits to responsible management of resources and materials as well as the generation and use of clean, renewable energy. It maintains a level of physical conditions that ensure clean air and access to clean and safe water. It fosters healthy soil and makes sure nutritious, locally grown food is available.


The city provides access to lifelong education for all and facilitates conditions for vibrant human expression, knowledge, interaction and governance by promoting cultural activities and full community participation. It invests in an equitable economy that benefits people and planet and is committed to the wellbeing of every citizen, regardless of socioeconomic status.


The city is committed to sustaining and restoring biodiversity of local, regional and global ecosystems, including species diversity, ecosystem diversity, and genetic diversity. It keeps its demand on ecosystems within the limits of the Earth’s carrying capacity and supports ecological integrity by maintaining essential linkages within and between ecological corridors.