Eco-districts: can they accelerate urban climate planning?

Joan Fitzgerald*, Jennifer Lenhart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Despite signing the Mayors Climate Change Agreement, few US cities have made significant progress in either climate mitigation or adaptation. For the most part, European cities have been more effective, albeit with assistance from the European Union and their national governments. Several of the most successful European cities have implemented eco-districts, which have offered many lessons for overall sustainability planning. Using Malmö, Sweden as a case study, we ask how planners and elected officials learned from implementing an eco-district, focusing on experimentation with new technologies and approaches to planning. We identify how “double-loop learning”, a term coined by Argyris and Shön, was at play in changing planning practice. As eco-districts are catching on in North American cities, there is much to be learned from European practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-380
JournalEnvironment and Planning C. Government and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • climate adaptation
  • climate mitigation
  • environmental governance
  • environmental policy
  • local climate action

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