ECOCIT Network

About the network

“China’s current development is ecologically unsustainable, and the damage will not be reversible once higher GDP has been achieved.”

Zhenhua Xie, Minister of State Environmental Protection Agency

Ecocit is a global network of leading academics, industry partners and public bodies focused on developing and transforming cities to be sustainable both ecologically and economically.

Funded by an EPSRC (the UK’s Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) Dongtan Network Award, which ran until June 2010, ecocit was headquartered at Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London, and worked with other institutions and industry partners from China, Australia, Spain and across the United Kingdom.

The aims of the network

The network aims to learn from the Dongtan eco-city experience and facilitate knowledge flows and networking between Chinese and UK collaborators. Research and ideas were exchanged between UK and Chinese collaborators, such as Tongji University, the Chinese Academy of Science and Tsinghua University etc., and links have been built with Chinese industrial partners.

Developing the Research Agenda

Ecocit developed a research agenda that brought value to policy-makers, practitioners, enterprises and institutions engaged in developing or transforming the next generation of cities. The network addressed planning and policy actions to determine what conditions are necessary to combine sustainable economic development and sustainable ecological objectives in urban units on the periphery of a mega-city.

The network’s research proposals addressed the challenges of:

  • Designing, building and operating eco-cities
  • Ensuring both economic and ecological sustainability of such cities
  • Developing environmental technology, and engineering for sustainability.

Key topics included:

  • The challenges involved in the design, construction and operation of an eco-city which has more stringent economic and environmental requirements than adjacent cities
  • New management paradigms and business models required to support the delivery of Dongtan as a model for other eco-city developments
  • Planning and policy actions required to drive inward investment, attract and retain firms, and harmonise local employment opportunities and human capital
  • The exploitation of innovation and the transfer of best practices from this leadership project to other eco-city projects worldwide.