Cities are “built thought”; they represent the most materialised form of the relation between society and environment. Thus, in a special sense, cities worldwide have become a symbol of the environmental crisis, of the transformation of valuable natural resources into waste and pollutants. Cities, however, have also always been places of innovations. Solutions emanate from people whose living conditions are threatened. Many signs indicate that the time is ripe for basic changes in production and consumption processes, in people′s attitudes and behaviour, and also in the built‐up structures of cities. This article, therefore, introduces the concept of “ecological urban restructuring”. The concept was theoretically developed and empirically tested in an international comparative research project. The three main elements of the concept are: (1) eight points of orientation as general guidelines; (2) fields of action and building blocks as methodological aids for integrated strategies; (3) concept of ecological neighbourhood development as a concept for action on the urban neighbourhood level. Finally, an overview is given on recent initiatives by international organisations on the topic of urban ecology.
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