Eco-neighbourhoods: a future commitment for sustainable cities

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Citizens, planners and architects with an ecological conscience put their hopes in the eco-neighbourhoods. Efficient and highly environmentally friendly, they are emerging in the big cities.

Hammarby Sjostad, an eco-neighbourhood in Stockholm.#RRSSHammarby Sjostad, an eco-neighbourhood in Stockholm.


It is an urban project that aims to reduce the impact on the environment and change the education and lifestyles of the citizens of the big cities to make them more responsible for their environment.

This example of sustainable development on a small scale is based on energy self-sufficiency through the integration of ecological agriculture, renewable energies and the sustainable exploitation of natural resources. While at the same time maintaining good communication with the rest of the city.

The main benefits of this project include:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Regeneration of green areas, traffic areas and public spaces
  • Promotion of environmental education and awareness


The eco-neighbourhood is the sustainable urban development model that best meets the current needs of society and the environment. It thus presents itself as the most effective solution to the problems of the traditional neighbourhood: non-inclusive, with excessive traffic and a high amount of pollution. According to the United Nations (UN), although cities occupy just 3% of the earth's land surface area, they represent between 60% and 80% of energy consumption and are responsible for 75% of carbon emissions.

Sustainable development: eco-neighbourhoods in the cities of the future.#RRSSSustainable development: eco-neighbourhoods in the cities of the future.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Sustainable development eco-neighbourhoods in the cities of the future [PDF]

To redress the situation, the UN set out in Sustainable Development Goal no. 11 to "make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable". The task for 2020 is already set: "to substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements that adopt and implement integrated policies and plans to promote inclusion, efficient use of resources, mitigation of climate change and adaptation to it".


Hammarby Sjöstad (Stockholm, Sweden): an industrial city abandoned due to its pollution in the 1990s won the Green Capital of Europe title in 2010. One of the strategies behind its transformation was to create a closed-circuit urban metabolism with sustainable water, waste and energy systems. The tram, the main means of transport cohabits with a pedestrian and cycle network, a shared car system and a ferry. The height of the buildings means that interior courtyards can be exploited for cultivation in small plots with micro-greenhouses.

Know more innovating eco-neighbourhoods

BedZED (London, United Kingdom): in 2000 building work started on the Beddington Zero Energy Development with homes that use only renewable energies. With a surface area of 3,000 m2 it stands out for the techniques it uses to exploit rainfall. These, along with the use of efficient household appliances, have reduced water use by 60% compared to the rest of the country. In the community, vehicle sharing between neighbours and the installation of electric vehicle chargers in every house are promoted.

La Pinada (Paterna, Valencia, Spain): this will be Spain's first eco-neighbourhood, co-designed by its future residents around the Imagine Montessori School. The school will be the hub of neighbourhood life and extend the education process to social and environmental awareness, sustainability, innovation and community; a space where integrating work and leisure will be easier, facilitating the reconciliation of work and family life and reducing journeys.

The works are scheduled to start in 2019, and the first phase will be completed by 2021. The project will be located 10 minutes from Valencia and include 25 hectares to house around 1000 families.

Grow Community, Bainbridge Island (Washington, United States): the most resilient and sustainable community in the country the residents live in zero-emission homes are — self-supplied by solar energy — surrounded by community gardens and they get around in shared electric cars. It is the first eco-neighbourhood to meet the strict requirements of the One Planet Living program.

Northwest area (Brasilia, Brazil): this is the perfect combination between a prime location, environmental sustainability and technological innovation. Part of the Brasilia Revisited project, it was designed by the urban planner Lúcio Costa between 1985 and 1987, with the intention to be Brazil's first eco-neighbourhood. The residential areas are strategically laid out to better exploit the natural lighting and ventilation. They also have a solar heating system that reduces electricity consumption, and a selective waste collection and treatment system.

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