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Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a Changing Climate (Future City) Paperback – April 14, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1402096372 ISBN-10: 1402096372 Edition: 2009th

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Product Details

  • Series: Future City (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2009 edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402096372
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402096372
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,386,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"The book is an impressive, albeit lengthy, dissection and re-evaluation of current ecological models for city planning, one which will certainly cater more to the academics than the practitioners of sustainability. Given the extensive research and case studies this book is an important resource for all who are interested in looking at the bigger picture of sustainable issues in the city and architecture." (Thomas Wong, Futurarc, July, 2009)

"Paul’s bug was bigger than academic politics and his desire to educate was the world not the campus. And indeed that’s exactly what he’s doing with his new book ‘Ecopolis.’ Not only educating, but educating about what’s most important. … Perfect for post docs in the field and field workers in the doc’s office … . Perfect for all restless minds probing what’s the meaning of building these here cities in the first place. … It’s stuffed with illustrations, photos, charts and references … ." (Richard Register, Ecocities Emerging, September, 2009)

“The book was first published in Australia where the author lives. … Architecture, planning and ecology are interwoven. In this book, both theory and practice have been elaborated with knowledge, skill, and experience. Large number of coloured plates, black and white illustration, a good bibliography and many other items of academic and professional importance enrich this volume.” (Built Environment, Issue 23, January-December, 2009)

From the Back Cover

From 2008, for the first time in human history, half of the world's population now live in cities. Yet despite a wealth of literature on green architecture and planning, there is to date no single book which draws together theory from the full range of disciplines – from architecture, planning and ecology – which we must come to grips with if we are to design future cities which are genuinely sustainable.

Paul Downton's Ecopolis takes a major step along this path. It highlights the urgent need to understand the role of cities as both agents of change and means of survival, at a time when climate change has finally grabbed world attention, and it provides a framework for designing cities that integrates knowledge – both academic and practical – from a range of relevant disciplines.

Identifying key theorists, practitioners, places and philosophies, the book provides a solid theoretical context which introduces the concept of urban fractals, and goes on to present a series of design and planning tools for achieving Sustainable Human Ecological Development (SHED). Combining knowledge from diverse fields to present a synthesis of urban ecology, the book will provide a valuable resource for students, researchers and practitioners in architecture, construction, planning, geography and the traditional life sciences.

Dr Paul Downton is a practising architect and the Director of Ecopolis Architects in Adelaide, Australia.

More About the Author

Paul was born in Somerset, England on 11 September in the year of the Dragon (1952) when the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was just 311 ppm.
As a student, he wrote long and furious essays about architecture, ecology, and the future that were surprisingly well received (the Welsh School of Architecture featured ecological design long before it was fashionable). Discovering global warming in the late 1970s, he read the literature - and worried about the consequences.
With a family in tow, Paul left to work in Jordan for 2 years before emigrating to Australia in 1984, where he now lives. During many years of teaching and practice he has remained active in the community, seeking patterns of human settlement that can sustain, rather than destroy the world. Over 20 years ago he started focusing on the concept of 'ecopolis' - determined to see human civilization evolve in balance with the biosphere before it's too late. With 7 grandchildren destined to inherit whatever planet we're putting together right now, his concern is deep - and personal.
You can find out more about Paul and his award-winning work on (and connected sites) and catch an occasional twitter on

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. D. Burdon on April 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
A magnificent study. In an age where eco-has become the necessary prefix in urban design and building, Downton is a breath of fresh air. He speaks to the best within us and offers not only hope, but a blue-print for achieving sustainable communities that are in touch with people and place. Downton's Ecopolis represents both a vast theoretical knowledge (detailed particularly in a chapter entitled 'weavers of theory') but also the wizened experience of an architect who seeks to implement the ideas he advocates. Included in this volume are accounts of three projects Downton has personally been involved in.

Written in the lineage of Christopher Alexander & Richard Register, Downton's Ecopolis is set to become a modern classic.

Peter Burdon, University of Adelaide, School of Law
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