The University of Westminster has published a landmark report about the future direction of eco-cities. The Bellagio Statement outlines the recommendations to improve sustainable development and practice concerning the use of eco-city indicators, standards and frameworks in a variety of organisational, national and cultural contexts.
The project was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation (New York) with the aim to provide a valuable contribution to policy making, planning and practice, at a time of increasing global interest for eco-city initiatives.
The agreement is part of the International Eco-Cities Initiative, a multi-national research network co-ordinated by scholars at the University of Westminster (London), the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC).
The project involved a three-day conference titled ‘Tomorrow’s City Today’ which was held in Bellagio, Italy, in September 2012 and gathered together international experts to discuss the scope for developing and using indicators, standards and frameworks for urban sustainability, or eco-city, initiatives around the world.
Elaborating on the Bellagio Statement, Professor Simon Joss, Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Westminster, said: “The Bellagio initiative was a unique opportunity to bring together a group of leading experts from 14 countries around the world to take stock of recent developments of eco-city indicators, standards and frameworks, and to make recommendations for future research, policy and practice.
“The recently published Bellagio statement, as agreed jointly by all participants, highlights the need for overarching global efforts to co-ordinate various indicator schemes and frameworks at international level, as well as the need for attention paid to the particular, context-specific conditions of urban sustainability indicators and standards on the ground. Importantly, the statement also highlights the need to pay equal attention to social and cultural aspects of sustainability alongside environmental priorities.”
Further to the Bellagio project, the International Eco-Cities Initiative has secured a three-year grant from The Leverhulme Trust to develop the Leverhulme International Network with the aim to carry out comparative research and policy analysis relating to various eco-city and urban sustainability indicators, standards and certification schemes.