Principles for Guiding Eco-City Development

  • Rüdiger Wittig

Before a town may rightly be termed an “eco-city,” it must first meet a number of requirements, which can be summarized in one sentence: To the greatest possible extent, an eco-city should function in the same way as a natural ecosystem. However, a comparison between urban and natural ecosystems reveals that in general this goal is currently far from being realized. Cities and natural ecosystems differ greatly in their energy sources, in the origin of nutrients and other materials used, and in patterns of waste disposal and material cycling. To establish criteria for an eco-city, we must first remember what a typical city looks like. Bearing the characteristics of a typical city in mind, one can approach the question of the conditions that have to be fulfilled before a town or city may rightly be termed an eco-city. However, it is recognized that socioeconomic conditions do constrain the ability of cities to mimic nature in terms of energy flow and material cycling. Nonetheless, to clarify these requirements it is useful to compare and contrast the characteristics and functions of cities and natural ecosystems.


Waste Disposal Natural Ecosystem Urban Heat Island Ecological Footprint Urban Forest 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rüdiger Wittig
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and GeobotanyJohann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and DiversityGermany

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