The International Eco-Cities Initiative undertakes research into contemporary urban sustainability and related governance and innovation issues. It was originally launched in 2009 by researchers at the University of Westminster (London), the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) and the Lemelson Center at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC).
The initiative has received major research grants from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust and the Rockefeller Foundation, among other funders. It has coordinated, and participated in, several multi-centre projects, including:
- The Smart Eco Cities project, including the UK smart-eco cities report
- The Tomorrow’s City Today comparative study of sustainability frameworks, culminating in the publication of Tomorrow’s city today
- A series of international surveys, including the Global eco-city survey
- The research seminar series The governance of eco-city innovation
- A large body of related academic publications, including the book Sustainable cities
In addition to research, the initiative undertakes various policy consultancy work (policy evaluation and design) in the UK and globally, and contributes to international conferences and other public engagement activities.
A key aim is to support the next generation of researchers and professionals by hosting doctoral research projects and visiting fellowships. Current projects relate to sustainability assessment projects, social sustainability in the Global South, community-based sustainable urbanism, and smart cities.