History

Ecocity Builders was founded in 1992 by ecocity pioneer Richard Register and a core group of ecologists and activists.

Milvia Slow Street, Downtown Berkeley

Continuing to advance the body and practice of the ecocity movement that began in 1975 with Register’s previous nonprofit, Urban Ecology, Ecocity Builders utilizes ecological urban planning, design, ecology, education, advocacy, policy and public participation to build healthier cities — for both people and nature.

Over the years, local projects, many launched in Berkeley, California, have helped define and refine “pieces of the ecocity”; providing living laboratories and models for practitioners in the emerging field of ecocity development. Portions of creeks that had been buried for decades are now opened, a street was redesigned as a “Slow Street”, a new bus line established, a solar greenhouse ordinance written and passed, street side fruit and nut trees planted, an energy saving ordinance written and passed, parking lots have been “depaved” and turned into community gardens, buildings have been designed to feature rooftop access and greenery with views to nature. These and other projects have not only created physical features and functions and established new laws, but have stimulated discussion of larger eco-urban issues and implications as well.

Ecocity Builders’ mission has always involved local change within a global perspective. In 1990, Register organized the First International Ecocity Conference. The event drew more than 800 people from 13 countries and covered a wide range of topics and discussions including ecosystems, alternative transportation, environmental justice, and urban design within modern and traditional cities. The conference has since been convened in Australia, Senegal, Brazil, China, India, San Francisco and Turkey, with the 9th conference upcoming in Montreal, Canada, August 2011. To date, over four thousand people have participated in the conferences series.