Bay Nature magazineApril-June 2008

Ecocity World Summit

April 1, 2008

While development plans for the weapons station are being honed, shaped, and scrutinized, innovative thinkers and planners are crossing the Bay and the world’s oceans to convene in San Francisco during Earth Week, April 22 to 26, for the Ecocity World Summit 2008.

Richard Register, founder and current president of Ecocity Builders in Oakland, convened the first International Ecocity Conference in Berkeley in 1990. Since then, he has participated in or led conferences in Australia, Senegal, Brazil, China, and India. An ecocity, at its simplest, is an ecologically healthy city where the buildings are sustainably built, parks are plentiful, goods and services come from nearby, and energy is generated with renewable sources.

Ecocity advocates would love to get their hands on a piece of property like the Concord Naval Weapons Station. “Concord could be a wonderful model for development,” says Kirstin Miller, conference organizer and executive director at Ecocity Builders. “We could show how all the pieces—transportation, land use, housing, nature, energy, green building, urban agriculture—fit together.”

But it’s the cities we already have that need fixing, and San Francisco is off to a good start with several ecocity features, she says. It’s a compact urban area with a heavily used public transportation system and numerous parks. It could come closer to an ecocity ideal, Miller adds, by bringing its creeks above ground, separating its sewage and stormwater systems, building more neighborhood parks, expanding community gardens, and bringing in grid-delivered renewable energy.

For more information, visit EcoCity World Summit.

About the Author

Writer Aleta George trained as a Jepson Prairie docent in 2009. In addition to writing Bay Nature's Ear to the Ground column, she has written for Smithsonian, High Country News, and the Los Angeles Times.

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