Sustainable urban development considers urban development from four perspectives, namely: physical environmental; socio-cultural; economic and institutional.

Eco-Build Africa has specialists on sustainable urban development generally, but also on green urbanism, focusing on physical issues, such as urban open space systems, water and sanitation, energy, pollution, solid waste management, etc. In these areas Eco-Build does research, policy, planning and actual implementation of projects. The SymbioCity Programme, that has been developed in collaboration with SALAR from Sweden is one such area of work. Eco-Build also does training on urban sustainability.

A related area of work is sustainable urban design. This is the practice of designing the built environment to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. It is environmental design at macro-level. The aim of sustainable design is to produce places, buildings and services in a way that reduces the use of non-renewable resources, minimizes environmental impact, and relates people with the natural environment.

Sustainable design is a general reaction to the global “environmental crisis”, i.e. rapid growth of economic activity and human population, depletion of natural resources, damage to ecosystems and loss of biodiversity. Sustainable design uses innovative design and industrial practices which reduce the environmental impacts associated with construction processes. It deals with the following:

  1. Carbon Footprint: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon foot print of buildings;
  2. Materials: sustainable materials, low impact materials, low embodied energy materials and construction technology;
  3. Life: protection of bio-diversity;
  4. Greening: open space, landscape and building greening; to limit urban heat island to reduce buildings impacts on the natural environment;
  5. Water: building, surface and underground water management; includes use; reuse; efficiency;
  6. Waste: liquid and solid waste management; and
  7. Energy: renewable energy production; use and savings; including energy efficiency.

Eco-Build continues to collaborates with the Kenyan Government, development partners and civil society to promote sustainable urban development in the region. Eco-Build also works with actors such as Aga Khan Foundation, UNEP, UN-Habitat, Embassy of Sweden, etc. to promote sustainable urban development.