The morphological criteria of Ecocity from the perspective of theorists

Document Type : Research Article



Ecology, as the platform of a city, has gotten special attention amongst varied disciplines associated with urbanization since the issue of global climate change has been arisen. The approach of Ecocity is derived from ignoring the ecosystem and natural context of cities during the modern era urban planning and the environmental and human crisis caused by it. Current environmental concerns are derived from rapid growth of the cities and urban life style. Therefore the solution should be found within the cities. Ecocity is rebuilding cities in harmony with nature and natural life-cycle of ecosystem. Correspondingly, the simultaneous survival of human being and biosphere could be achieved through reintegration of built and natural environment. Comparable to other divisions of sustainability, theoretical framework of Ecocity is an interdisciplinary issue. According to the comprehensive scope of the matter, there are plenty of ambiguities for policy makers, planners and urban designers in the field of implementation. This fact would decrease practicability of Ecocity or else the approach would not be applied according to its main principles. Considering the fact that saving the biosphere could not be achieved entirely by having a couple of Ecocities, Ecocity principles should be applicable in various ecological and natural basis of each and every city.  This paper seeks to answer the following questions: Do specific criteria exist to define Ecocity morphology? How would unique characteristics of ecological context influence on those macro-criteria? The research method is descriptive-analytical based on literature review of existing documents and comparative analyses amongst various theories in the field. The findings represent convergence within Ecocity’s morphological criteria in different approaches. The results indicates that the adaption of built environment with the climatic, natural and ecological basis of the city, considerable capitation of green areas within the city, disavowal of urban sprawl, mixed use zoning, pedestrian, bicycle and public transport priority, vast usage of renewable energy, evidences of biodiversity within the city and employing specific ecological, historical and cultural symbols to have an improved sense of belonging are the main morphological indicators of Ecocity. However, these indicators are used as an upstream urban plan and each of them could be redefined in detail according to ecological characteristics of a particular city. Accordingly, Major criteria are redefined as follows: compliance with natural environment and climate will coordinate a city with bioregion and as a result emphasize on its specifications. Improving urban green space per capita will lead to widespread use of native plants and spreads of habitat for divert species. Preventing urban sprawl would conserve natural heritage and would highlight ecological landscape of the city. Mixed use reduces inner-city travel and strengthens the presence of pedestrians with their particular culture and behavior. Not being car-oriented, it helps the city to preserve its geographical and natural platform. The type of renewable energy will differ based on its climatic features. Promoting the sense of belonging of citizens’ point of view in Ecocity is achieved through indigenous traditions and customs and the city's culture, history and symbols as well as its architecture and urban design. Therefore, it varies from one city to another. Consequently, this paper defined criteria for Ecocity morphology which are applicable to ecological context of cities. Thus, the research hypothesis is proved. According to the existing economic oriented approach through urban issues, Ecocity implementation needs changing attitude through common economic foundation, and promoting collective consciousness amongst climatic hazards and responsibility for the next generation.