Eco-town developments have been the testing grounds to improve upon the urban policies and practices in the Northern and Western European countries since the early 1990s. It has been widely discussed as to whether or how they have helped transitioning of towns and cities into more sustainable systems in the larger urban context through educational, experiential, societal diffusion and changes in governance processes. The countries in different cultural and geographical contexts with rapid urbanization rates, seek to establish similar developments with relatively less knowledge of the contextual and procedural differences in the eco-towns' processes or the reasons for their varying levels of impact. This article was prepared to summarize and systematize the insights that have been obtained from 'eco-town' based urban developments implemented in the Northwestern Europe with particular emphasis given into the examples from The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. The review of the relevant literature was conducted with the focus on: a. the context in which the demonstration eco-towns were developed since the emergence of planned communities in the early 20th century, b. the typologies, processes and frameworks through which the eco-towns were initiated, built, governed and evolved. The authors analyzed the wide diversity of frameworks and processes that have played roles in the relative successes and/or failures. The review provided insights into their procedures and the aspects associated with the diffusion of the lessons into the broader urban planning and development methods. The findings suggested that the political commitment, timing, financial aspects, physical qualities, stakeholder involvement and environmental planning were key elements in achieving the eco-towns' goals. Future research is recommended to critically analyze the impacts of these historically new urban development models and frameworks in order to create more effective approaches for achieving positive outcomes for all societies within ecological boundaries.

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Journal of Cleaner Production
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Bayülken, B., & Huisingh, D. (2015). Are lessons from eco-towns helping planners make more effective progress in transforming cities into sustainable urban systems: A literature review (part 2 of 2). Journal of Cleaner Production, 109, 152–165. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.12.099