by Jennie Moore, Director, Sustainable Development and Environmental Stewardship, British Colombia Institute of Technology
The IEFS encompasses 15 conditions that together constitute the parameters of an ecocity (www.ecocitystandards.org). Indicators within each condition inform whether a city is achieving ecocity performance. The IEFS encompasses six levels of performance that move a city from an unhealthy and unsustainable condition through three phases of green city development and onward through three levels of ecocity development. Cities that pass the Ecocity 3 threshold would theoretically achieve GAIA status, existing in regenerative symbiosis with nature’s ecosystems.
In order to understand what constitutes an ecocity, Ecocity Builders has been working with an IEFS Core Advisor Group to develop the Ecocity 1 performance parameters. This includes identification of a suitable group of indicators within each of the 15 ecocity conditions that if achieved would indicate that a given city is an ecocity, a city in balance with nature.
The fifteen ecocity conditions span ecological, social and economic considerations and comprise the following:
– access by proximity
– clean Air
– clean and safe water
– healthy soil
– responsible resources and materials
– clean and renewable energy
– healthy and accessible food
– healthy culture
– community capacity/governance
– healthy and equitable economy
– lifelong education
– well being/quality of life
– healthy biodiversity
– earth’s carrying capacity
– ecological integrity
Next steps in developing the IEFS include working with early partner cities to test the applicability and suitability of the indicators within each of the 15 conditions. In some cases the data needed to assess an indicator may not be available or may prove costly to obtain. Strategies for accessing data and obtaining missing information will need to be explored in order to develop the IEFS in such a way that all cities, regardless of their level of development and access to resources, can participate in self-assessment using the IEFS.
British Columbia Institute of Technology School of Construction and the Environment is Lead Sponsor of the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative