UK top in Europe for eco-cities

A recent survey published by the University of Westminster, shows that Asia is leading the way when it comes to the development of eco-cities with one third of the total number of projects across the globe based in the continent.  The research also found that the UK and France top the list in Europe.

In the most far-reaching and comprehensive international census of current eco-cities yet, the University found that there are currently a total of 174 eco-based projects across the world.  

League table for eco-cities


CountryNumber of eco-cities*
China   25
USA  17
Japan 16
India 15
South Korea5
South Africa3

*Table shows the countries that have three or more initiatives of 178


Aimed at achieving various environmental, social and economic sustainability goals, eco-cities look to encourage renewable energy use, promote public transport, reduce waste, improve water quality, and generally make cities more habitable for its residents. 


Professor Simon Joss, lead researcher, University of Westminster said: “Efforts to make cities environmentally and socially sustainable and innovate in urban development have, in recent decades, culminated in a new phenomenon, primarily aimed at meeting the dual challenge of climate change and rapid urbanisation.


“In recognition of the key role played by cites both as the cause of, and potential solution to, these changes, the concept and practice of eco-cities have continued to gain global significance and become increasingly mainstream when it comes to government policy-making.”


The focus of this study was to gain a better understanding of the innovation and governance processes that drive and shape eco-city developments. To do this, the research looked at what distinguished eco-cities from ‘normal cities’? Why do eco-cities seem to have become globally mainstream in such a short period of time? How are eco-cities located, designed and implemented? Can eco-cities be socially and democratically sustainable?


The UK is currently host to a range of eco-city developments, from city-level initiatives – including Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and St. Davids – to borough-level initiatives, mainly in London which includes Elephant and Castle, BedZED, and Royal Albert Basin.


The survey was put together by the University of Westminster, the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC).


For further details, please visit the eco-cities website: