Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is MD of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government, business and civil society on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. His work focuses on the subject of climate, equity, economy and efficiency, and helping governments to ask the right questions and find practical solutions to thorny policy issues within the context of a thought-out strategy for sustainable development and social justice.
The geographic focus of his work extends to more than thirty countries, with advisory assignments in cities as diverse as the compact Westport CT and path-breaking (but ultimately unbuilt) Ahmanson Ranch project in CA, to advisory work in places as far-ranging as Adelaide,Beijing, Bilbao, Bogotá, Bridgeport, Buenos Aires, Helsinki, Jiaozuo, Kaohsiung, Paris, Penang, Perth, Saigon, Sao Paulo, Taipei, Tallinn, Toronto, and Zürich. He has served as high level consultant to the United Nations, European Commission, ILO, OECD, and a long list of national and regional government agencies, bilateral aid programs, and as a visiting lecturer at US and European universities.
Britton devotes considerable time to pioneering and supporting public interest projects involving new technology, sustainable development and social justice. A common theme in his work is the strategic adaptation of technologies, products, and institutional structures to changing technological, resource and environmental requirements (and perceptions).
Over the last decades he has organized and supported more than twenty international collaborative problem-solving networks and events, bringing together thousands of people and groups around the world that are looking into new and often unusual ideas for sustainability and long-term economic viability in cities.
In June 2002 he was awarded the prestigious World Technology Environment Prize for outstanding achievement. Over 2001-2002 he served as chair of the international jury and senior advisor to the Stockholm Partnerships for Sustainable Cities, a program with which he maintains a long-term interest. In 2000 he and Enrique Peñalosa, then mayor of Bogotá Colombia, were co-awarded the Stockholm Environment Challenge Prize for ‘outstanding socio-technical innovation’.
He is presently Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Society at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Paris. His book Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities is due to appear in mid 2015.
This latest joint project with Robert Ayres on our chosen theme of Exernomics: Energy, Growth, and Democracy follows on the heels of several decades of cooperation on international projects in which these same basic themes come up again and again. Apparently there is still a lot of work to be done in this particular corner of the planet’s concerns.
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