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"Eco-cities: fad or a sustainable (development) option?" The eco-city concept can, by no means, be considered a fad. A fad, by definition, is limited in its duration and its influence on thinking and human behaviour. The term “eco-city” dates back to the 1970s and has been gaining ground, albeit unevenly, ever since. The concept is generally attributed to Richard Register, the co-founder of Urban Ecology (1975) and the eco-city movement, later to become Ecocity Builders (1992). While these dates coincide with the emergence of the concept of “sustainable development” (Stockholm 1972) and its global action plan (Agenda 21 - Rio 1992), the two concepts have different origins and intended outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe the genesis of the various city movements including the eco-city movement, how the latter compares with other movements and initiatives, and where we stand today in terms of meeting the sustainability challenges facing our increasingly urbanised and rapidly urbanising world.



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