Our first Ecocity Focus Lab (EFL) took place in November 2016 in Vancouver, Canada, at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. The main focus of the event was to review the headline indicators, or the metrics used to measure a city’s progress in achieving the International Ecocity Standards. This EFL was primarily concerned with benchmarks associated with achieving the Ecocity Level 1 in the International Ecocity Standards (IEFS) (www.ecocitystandards.org). Participants explored tools that can be used in tandem with the Ecocity Standards to assess progress towards achieving the goal of building cities in balance with nature; particular attention was given to the new ecoCity Footprint Tool that is being developed for integration with the UrbInsight platform and related online assessment capabilities.
Preliminary findings of the Focus Lab included the confirmation of 18 standards and associated headline indicators, exceeding the 15 standards traditionally included in the IEFS. These findings will be discussed and further refined during the 2017 Ecocity World Summit in Melbourne.
Standards table – it could be useful information to have the table of the indicators from this column: http://ecocitiesemerging.org/2017/05/ecocity-focus-lab-vancouver/
The first day of the Ecocity Focus Lab opened with a presentation by Professor Simon Joss from the University of Westminster on sustainability assessment for ecocities, followed by a presentation from Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of Ecocity Builders about the various tools and resources being developed to: map, measure, network, define, tour, teach and deepen understanding of what an ecocity entails. Following the presentation, Dr. Jennie Moore at BCIT’s School of Construction and the Environment on her work to develop an ecoCity Footprint Tool aimed at helping cities assess their urban metabolism, consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions, and ecological footprint. The rest of the first day involved presentations from researchers and planners from cities where the ecoCity Footprint Tool was either being tested or about to be tested on their current efforts and objectives. For the duration of the EFL, participants worked diligently in working groups to discuss the appropriateness, utility, and specific performance metrics of the proposed indicators in question followed by full group discussions to provide feedback and discuss implementation plans. The second day focused on headline indicators pertaining to the Ecological Imperatives and Urban Design conditions; the third day focused on Bio-Geophysical conditions; and the final day on Socio-Cultural Features.
The Ecocity Focus Lab in Vancouver was made possible by the collaboration between the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Ecocity Builders staff as well as researchers from other institutions and the work of a handful of interns. Participants from cities in India and England were in attendance, and guests from Medellin, Colombia, and Cusco, Peru joined via Skype.