Ecocity Insights

Remembering Ecocity Author and Activist Dr. Mike Carr (1942-2015)

Mike Carr holding grandson

Mike Carr with Susan’s grandson. Photo via Common Ground

Mike Carr obtained his PhD in the study of Bioregionalism and Civil Society from the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in 1999. He studied under Professor Emeritus Dr. William Rees, co-founder of the ecological footprint concept, who describes Dr. Carr as “one of North America’s foremost bioregional thinkers and advocates for a socially just and sustainable society.” The university subsequently published Dr. Carr’s dissertation as a book (Carr 2004).

However, Dr. Carr had also been an ecocity activist for many years before that. During the previous decade he was a founder of Vancouver’s EcoCity Network and it was he who fostered the connection between Vancouver’s efforts to green its city and the work of Richard Register, documented in Ecocity Berkeley (1987), to daylight Strawberry Creek and advance the concept of urban ecology generally.

Mike worked closely with colleague and previous fellow PhD student Dr. Mark Roseland, author of Toward Sustainable Communities (2012) and another ecocity activist, to get the movement going in Vancouver. They inspired a generation of young activists, myself included, to take on the call of greening our cities by connecting the dots between the interests of various advocacy groups and a vision for a greener and more equitable city that exists in balance with nature (Register 2006). As Vancouver’s founding EcoCity Network Coordinator, I learned a tremendous amount from Dr. Carr, who always preferred to simply be called “Mike.” His enthusiasm was contagious and he devoted himself to the cause at hand. Vancouver is a much greener city as a direct result of his many efforts.

Dr. Carr was tireless in his mentorship and promotion of efforts to make Vancouver and the world a more socially equitable and ecologically balanced place. He led a group of activists over the course of eight years to complete a series of bioregional maps of the Vancouver watershed, known as “Salmonopolis.” These maps have recently been donated to the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning for use in the university’s library system as reference material with an express wish that they be digitized and made publicly available for all who wish to use them.

Among those who participated with Mike in efforts to green and map Vancouver are people who went on to become Federally elected members of parliament, academics in post-secondary institutions, bioregionalists and city planners, and aid workers in far flung areas across the planet.

To learn more about Dr. Mike Carr and his contributions to bioregionalism and the ecocity movement visit:


Carr, Mike. 2004. Bioregionalism and Civil Society: Democratic challenges to corporate globalism. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Register, Richard. 2006. Ecocities: Rebuilding cities in balance with nature. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers.

Register, Richard. 1987. Ecocity Berkeley: Building cities for a healthy future. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Roeseland, Mark. 2012. Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for citizens and their governments. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.


British Columbia Institute of Technology School of Construction and the Environment is Lead Sponsor of the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative     


About the author

Jennie Moore

Dr. Jennie Moore is Director, Institute Sustainability at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Dr. Moore has extensive experience in the realm of ecological sustainability and urban systems including climate change and energy management, green buildings and eco-industrial networking. Prior to joining BCIT she worked for over a decade at Metro Vancouver as Manager of Strategic Initiatives. Her research explores the potential for Vancouver to achieve one-planet living. Jennie is a senior associate of the One Earth Initiative and a core advisor to the International Ecocity Framework and Standards.