RESHAPING CITIES FOR THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OF HUMAN AND NATURAL SYSTEMS
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.
PROSPERITY COMES IN CYCLES
Tammany Trace, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana
By Rick Pruetz
Bicycle trails are good for business. They attract restaurants, brewpubs and retail shops catering to those who walk or pedal for fun, exercise and health. When trails connect centers of employment, recreation, education and culture, they also generate residential development aimed at people who increasingly prefer active transportation to fighting traffic. And when trails are extended and linked with one another, they expand tourism revenue from a growing breed of vacationers who want to get out of their cars and experience places at a more leisurely and enjoyable speed.
As trails succeed, they increase business activity, employment, wages, property value, income and, importantly, tax revenues in a self-reinforcing upward spiral. Specifically, trail improvements boost trail use which grows trail-adjacent businesses and property investments which, in turn, expand tax revenues and create public support for further trail improvements. By riding the Tammany Trace Trail in St. Tammany Parish Louisiana in 2018, my wife and I got a first-hand look at this virtuous cycle.
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