University of Westminster flag

Developing International Standards and Policy for Eco-Cities

Bellagio Conference hosted by the International Eco-Cities Initiative

Programme Outline

12 Sep 2012 Day 1

Theme 1 – Mapping and comparing ‘eco-city’ frameworks.

  • how, and on what conceptual basis, are various aspects of urban sustainability defined and specified, including environmental, economic and social measures?
  • what are the key functions of indicators and endorsement schemes, in terms of guiding design and planning, assessing performance, setting standards, and promoting knowledge innovation and transfer?
  • what are key similarities and differences between various approaches and frameworks?

13 Sep 2012 Day 2

Theme 2 – Evaluating the use of urban sustainability frameworks.

  • what is the relationship between indicators, accreditation schemes and individual eco-city initiatives (advice, external validation, certification)?
  • how are generic indicator schemes applied to individual initiatives and their policy contexts; and what challenges occur?
  • to which extent do these frameworks relate to outcomes?

14 Sep 2012 Day 3

Theme 3 – Identifying multi-level policy requirements and opportunities.

  • how do urban sustainability frameworks interact with local, national and international policy contexts; and what challenges arise?
  • what needs and opportunities are there for the closer integration of existing eco-city indicator and endorsement systems, and for developing international standards?

October 12

Finalisation of conference report & policy recommendations; press release.

Conference Aims & Rationale

This international expert forum brings together leading researchers, policy experts and practitioners from
across the world to review emerging urban sustainability frameworks and to consider the development of
international ‘eco-city’ indicators and standards. In doing so, the event aims to make a contribution to
improving urban sustainability policy and finding global solutions for sustainable growth and climate change

The background of this initiative is the recent growth in diverse urban sustainability, or ‘eco-city’, initiatives
across continents, from Jakarta (Indonesia) to Menlyn Maine (South Africa), and from Tianjin Binhai (China) to Vancouver (Canada). According to the most recent global survey by the International Eco-Cities Initiative, there are currently some 178 eco-city initiatives underway, including entirely new cities, urban ‘in-fill’ projects, and major ‘retro-fit’ projects.1 International schemes, such as the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Climate+ Program and the World Bank’s Eco2 Cities initiative have been instrumental in facilitating good practice and knowledge transfer globally.

As a result of these developments, in recent years several varying urban sustainability indicators and accreditation schemes have emerged, such as LEED Neighbourhood Development (US Building Council), Living Building Challenge (International Living Future Institute), One Planet Communities (BioRegional), and Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities (European Union). While these, and other, schemes share a common goal of capturing and measuring various urban sustainability dimensions, at the same time they differ significantly in terms of both underlying approaches and the definition of specific measures. As a consequence, there is at present a need to generate more systematic knowledge and policy analysis of how these various indicator systems and endorsement schemes compare; whether there is scope for closer integration to achieve international standards; and what are the implications for policy-making. This, in turn, will help improve urban sustainability planning and performance, and inform related policy-making, at local, national and international levels.

The Bellagio Conference is designed to make a major contribution to this debate through a three-day programme of presentations, workshops and round-table discussion among a select group of internationally leading experts. The exclusive Rockefeller Bellagio Center – located on the shore of Lake Como, Northern Italy – and the closed, informal conference format will be conducive to generating intellectually stimulating
discourse and high-quality outputs.

Outputs & Outcomes

The conference aims to generate the following outputs and outcomes:

  • two publications, written by the organisers: (i) an analytical report comparing and evaluating various
    eco-city indicator systems and certification/endorsement schemes; (ii) policy recommendations,
    including lessons learnt and further development opportunities. These reports will be jointly owned
    by, and made available to, all participants;
  • knowledge transfer, networking, and capacity building: participants will be invited to share knowledge
    and experience during the conference, and encouraged to engage in networking beyond the
  • dissemination of conference proceedings and outputs through: International Eco-Cities Initiative
    website; participants’ own networks; press release; and


The conference is hosted by the International Eco-Cities Initiative and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation
(New York).

Conference chairs:

  • Professor Simon Joss (University of Westminster, London); Email: [email protected]
  • Professor Robert Kargon (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore)
  • Dr Arthur Molella (Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC).

Conference secretariat:

Dr Daniel Tomozeiu (University of Westminster).
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 911 5000 extension 2095


Ms Jutta Berns-Mumbi, Ecocentric, South Africa
Mr Vatsal Bhatt, Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA
Ms Mariana de Cillo Malufe, Odebrecht, Brazil
Dr Tu Lan Do, Vietnam Ministry of Construction, Vietnam
Ms Cate Harris, Lend Lease Asia Pacific, Australia
Dr Peter Head CBE, The Ecological Sequestration Trust, UK
Professor Bernhard Müller, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Germany
Attorney Luis A. Paredes, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Philippines
Ms Sue Riddlestone, BioRegional, UK
Professor Mark Roseland, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Professor Yonne Rydin, University College London, UK
Mr Seth Schultz, William J. Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative, USA
Mr Debashis Sen, Government of West Bengal, India
Mr Dong Shanfeng, Shanghai International Investment Company (SIIC), China
Mr Hiroaki Suzuki, World Bank, Japan
Dr A.K. Tripathi, Government of India, India
Mr Velix Wanggai, Presidential Administration, Indonesia
Mr Tonny Xie, Arup, China
Mr Stanley Yip, Arup, China
Professor Simon Joss, University of Westminster, UK
Professor Robert Kargon, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Dr Arthur Molella, Smithsonian Institution, USA
Dr Daniel Tomozeiu, University of Westminster, Romania