Housing, Shelter

Ecocity Builders

Reshaping cities for the long-term health of human and natural systems

Oakland, CA


We develop and implement policy, design and educational tools and strategies to build thriving urban centers based on “access by proximity” and to reverse patterns of sprawl and excessive consumption.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Kirstin Miller

Main Address

339 15th Street Suite 208

Oakland, CA 94612 USA


ecocity, ecology, planning, design, sustainable, development, conferences, consulting





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (L01)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

At Ecocity Builders we have an adage – "As we build, so shall we live." Quality of life, for humans and for nature, are inextricably linked. We are part of nature as well as shapers of natural systems, and now on a planetary scale. The ecocity model gives us a way forward – it’s feasible, practical, and doable. The basic knowledge is already here. Our work is about sharing knowledge and to accelerate change towards cities in balance with human and natural systems.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Ecocity World Summit

Ecocity Framework and Standards


Nepal Ecocity Network

Ecocity Forums and Focus Labs

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

- Help cities around the world to achieve ecologically sustainable and socially just communities. - Develop and expand our signature sustainability education and training. - Make our methods and tools widely available around the world. - Build the ecocity movement through the Ecocity World Summit conference series.

We work locally and internationally to establish access to ecocity knowledge, integrating experiences from a diverse range of perspectives. We link separate knowledge pools through joint research, consulting services, and partnerships. We help develop mutual understanding of ecocity goals and help implement knowledge in new settings, including coordinating joint partnerships, projects and work plans.

• 30 years of dedicated practice that has created a global movement. • Development of proven methods and tools that work for experts and novices alike. • Inspiring and catalyzing the transformations of old patterns based on cheap energy and waste into new ideas and new ways of building and living that are healthy for both people and nature. • Stewards of the longest-running conference series on sustainable cities - Ecocity World Summit - which is still building the movement today. • We have built a network of stellar thinkers and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines, including transportation, energy, architecture, design, natural restoration, development, planning, and advocacy. • We are known for our education and outreach. We provide training on the ecocity approach, as well as workshops and classes on the topic.

Our organization's progress indicators include the following metrics: The number of beneficiaries served through our conferences, programs, and services; Beneficiary satisfaction through regular polls and surveys we conduct; Pre and post scores for our Urbinsight and other training programs; Organizational employee, volunteer, advisor retention rate; Percent of performance goals met; Year over year performance; Program efficiency; Website page views; Email open and click-through rates; Landing page conversion rates; Fundraising ROI. Donor retention; Gifts secured. Additionally, we request feedback from our constituents - here are some recent comments: “A good initiative with totally grounded principles for the development of eco city.” — Nivesh Dugar, environmental engineer, Kathmandu, Nepal This experience has allowed me to meet a large group of professionals involved in the same interest. The course is a valuable complement to our work. — Irina Palomino Tavara, Peru Congratulations and many thanks to the participating institutions in the organization of the event and allow us to attend, debate and exchange information among the representatives of the basins about the experiences learned. — Sandro De la Roca, Peru “Great vision. The government must support such types of initiatives. Every Nepali should promote such initiatives. — Prajwol Shrestha, concerned citizen “This is the need of the hour… if we yearn to see a brighter Nepal.” — Ashok Verma, self-employed, Kathmandu, Nepal “I worked with Kirstin on a very visionary project called Urbinsight. Her leadership, enthusiasm and dedication for the notion of ecocity is insurmountable. I learned a lot from her human-centric approach to sustainable development especially in deprived areas around the world.” — Heba Allah Khalil, Professor of Sustainable Urbanism, Cairo University. CHS- AET Senior Coordinator, Cairo Univ. Adjunct Professor, AUC “In a world where the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on global warming of 1.5oC has highlighted the urgent need for unprecedented transitions in urban, energy, land and industrial systems, the vision of establishing ecocities could not be more timely. This is the sort of ramping up of transformative urban ambition that is urgently needed to create a low-carbon, climate-resilient, safe and equitable world for all. The time for national and regional ecocity programs and plans is now!” – Debra Roberts, UN Climate Expert

Here are a few of our recent accomplishments. • In Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, Urbinsight materials directly guided 25 professionals as part of a “core” team along with 3 municipal staff, 7 interns and 4 university partners. This team then led outreach in three districts in the municipality of Laltipur which involved approximately 300 residents in one-on-one interviews, events, surveys and meetings using Urbinsight materials and methodologies. • In Medellin, Colombia, we directly trained 120 individuals involved in municipal planning. These people and their agencies successfully completed local and regional assessments to inform ongoing planning and implementation strategies for waste, water, energy, food and materials in a participatory process that included community organizations and residents. The team went on to engage with a large informal area and its residents, using Urbinsight activities and surveys to bring local perspectives and preferences into the municipal planning and decision making process. The engagement with locals probably reached around 500 people. • In Peru, we trained over 250 professionals in collecting and using geospatial tools and community data for planning and green infrastructure proposals. We actively engaged over 800 citizens, politicians, academics, and students in participatory action research related activities and passively engaged an additional 3,500 locals through public events, presentations and demonstration-workshops. • In Morocco, we involved 50 students, 6 community organizations, 5 non-governmental organizations, and citizens in testing a new method of crowdsourcing and crowd-mapping of environmental data, in Casablanca. Indicators were collected included Air Quality, Energy Food, Materials, Soil, Water, and Biodiversity. These teams work in three districts and used Urbinsight materials to engage with approximately 200 residents. • In Cairo, Egypt, we worked with approximately 30 students in several marginalized neighborhoods in Cario. Urbinsight training was then imparted by the students to the local CBO (community based organization) who supported the engagements of residents of which there were likely 50-60 directly engaged. • In Santa Fe, Argentina we are working with a core team of about 10 including professors, professionals and municipal staff, a class of approximately 35, who are doing direct outreach in five neighborhoods.

External Reviews


International Advisory Member for the City of Changwon 2010

City of Changwon, South Korea

Fellow - Richard Register, President, Ecocity Builders 2005

Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE)

Fellow - Richard Register, President, Ecocity Builders 2008

World Academy of Art and Science



Ecocity Builders

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  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable