Exclusive interview

Exclusive interview

Interview with Richard Register, Founder of Ecocity Builders

Richard Register, Founder and Emissary of Ecocity Builders, is one of the world’s great theorists and authors in ecological city design and planning. He is also a practitioner with four decades of experience activating local projects, pushing establishment buttons and working with environmentalists and developers to get a better city built and running. Among his many “firsts,” he convened the first of the Ecocity International Conference Series in Berkeley, California.

Check out the highlights of a short interview we did with him in the preparation of the 2021 event and find out more about what the longest running summit on sustainable cities – Ecocity World Summit has on offer for you this September.

Q: Why is the Ecocity Summit so important to attend especially this year?

Meeting the people with creative, inspiring ideas and activities can help seed important progress all over the place and with international conferences, that place is all over the world.

Q: What would be the outcome for someone who attended the Summit?

Attendees will learn more about the different models of great projects and the necessary tools to transform cities.

Q: Can you give an example of a similar tool?

My favorite tool I made up myself is a Mapping System I call Ecocity Mapping:

  • Find the existing centers of activity of a town or city
  • Enhance those centers with what the planners call “mixed uses”, increasing a kind of personable “density”
  • Withdraw from sprawl, at the same time.

I’ll feature the ecocity map prominently in my talk because I see it as so essential.


Richard Register at ECOCITY 2013,
La Cité Nantes Events Center


In area where we are “withdrawing from sprawl” we are creating new open spaces for food production, gardens, nature areas, waterways, shore lines, ridge lines and special natural features. For example in Berkeley where I lived for 30 years there are some impressive stone outcrops in the hills but these are screened by people planting enormous trees: trees vs. views and some natural features, environmentalists of different types at loggerheads! Also the trees vs. solar panels!

There would be much healthier cities, towns and villages should the ideas and featured projects there at the conference be taken seriously.

Cities are the largest of our human creations and thus not surprisingly, extraordinarily important for health of… pretty much everything!

Among the most important set of things humanity has to learn is to build our communities to actually help build soils and enhance natural biodiversity.

Hear more from Richard Register at Ecocity World Summit 2021. See you there!