Simply put, an ecocity is an ecologically healthy city. And because each city is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all ecocity model or just one way to get there from where we are now. However, ecocities share basic characteristics analogous to healthy ecosystems and living organisms. As such, a working definition was adopted by Ecocity Builders and the International Ecocity Framework & Standards (IEFS) advisory team on February 20th, 2010, in Vancouver, Canada:
An Ecocity is a human settlement modeled on the self sustaining resilient structure and function of natural ecosystems. The ecocity provides healthy abundance to its inhabitants without consuming more (renewable) resources than it produces, without producing more waste than it can assimilate, and without being toxic to itself or neighboring ecosystems. Its inhabitants’ ecological impact reflect planetary supportive lifestyles; its social order reflects fundamental principles of fairness, justice and reasonable equity.