How to Coordinate a Biosphere Eco-City

There are many ways to coordinate a Biosphere Eco-City

There is no standard way to set up or coordinate a Biosphere Eco-City. It all depends on what works best in the local circumstances.

As well, the BEC approach can be tested first through a project, without setting up a Biosphere Eco-City coordinating structure. This is what Ryerson University did, creating a self-guided Sustainability Tour for the City of Toronto, Canada.

Beyond that, here are some options to coordinate a Biosphere Eco-City :

A New Non-Profit Organization


  • easy to create


  • no resources and little structure.

The original BEC pilot in Ottawa, Canada began in this way. And while the Themes and Tools worked very well, maintaining a non-profit was demanding. But this turned out to be a good way to test the power of human capital (see Culture of Sustainability) and show that the BEC approach was affordable.

An Existing Non-Profit Organization


  • existing resources and structure
  • easier access to grant money


  • may be restricted by organization’s mission
  • may be viewed as not representing the whole community

With the resources and structure of an existing organization, starting BEC should be easier. But it would be prudent to create a Biosphere Eco-City Committee, with representatives from various stakeholders, to reflect the whole community.

An Association or Council of Existing Organizations


  • broad base of business, government and the non-profit sector
  • would immediately have created a BEC Tool – a Council of Stakeholders
  • sustaining resources, if member organizations contributed


  • more complicated to create and manage

One or two organizations would need to take the lead to start the council, and the governance structure would need to be well defined.

A Municipal Committee


  • secretarial support and communication tools
  • regular meeting space


  • members might feel constrained by government in discussions and projects

If government agreed to a “hands off” support role this might work well. An example of this is the City of Ottawa which provides a coordinator and some resources to support a Conservation and Stewardship Committee.