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Eco‐campus: applying the ecocity model to develop green university and college campuses

Jessica Finlay (Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)
Jennifer Massey (Student Affairs and Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 6 April 2012




The purpose of this paper is to argue that Richard Register's ecocity model offers a strategic framework to help guide sustainability initiatives in North American higher education (HE) institutions.


This conceptual paper examines the theory of the ecocity and investigates the implications for its proposed building strategies for university and colleges, as institutions seek to create more sustainable campuses. The paper examines previous efforts to achieve sustainability and how the concept of the eco‐campus can be practically and productively applied.


There is no single campus that has fully embraced every facet of sustainability, but numerous HE institutions are strong leaders in diverse areas. The eco‐campus model provides concrete principles that proactively address HE institutions' ecological footprints and develops sustainable community practices.

Social implications

Sustainability is a pressing social issue. As world leaders in research, innovation, and education, universities and colleges are key places to address this global issue and foster progressive action within current and future generations. The eco‐campus approach represents an opportunity to initiate a cultural paradigm shift, whereby university and colleges become global leaders in sustainability.


While sustainability is now a cornerstone of research and teaching, North American HE institutions are faced with the challenge of realigning institutional practices, processes and resources to fully institute sustainability on campus. The eco‐campus model provides an innovative guide around which to hinge the development of sustainable institutional practices, structure progressive action, and foster meaningful change.



Finlay, J. and Massey, J. (2012), "Eco‐campus: applying the ecocity model to develop green university and college campuses", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 150-165.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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