Dr Paul F Downton
architect writer urban evolutionary




architect writer urban evolutionary








I'm a prize-winning architect, urbanist, educator, and professional writer on architecture, ecocities, environment and the arts.

I am not a brand.

I am a human being, and I'll work with anyone who is serious about:

• tackling climate change and ecological collapse

• restoring life and health to cities and landscapes

• making beautiful places to live

In architecture, urban design, writing, teaching and public speaking – my skills are for hire.



I was developing proposals for ecological cities long before such things became fashionable.

My architectural projects include keynote green buildings for the Adelaide Zoo and the Australian National University.

With my life-partner Chérie Hoyle I was a driving force of the Christie Walk Ecocity development in Adelaide, Australia. I'm the architect of this internationally awarded urban community that has been widely published as an exemplar for ecologically and socially sustainable urban development.


I've been a published writer since the early 1970s. I was editor and a primary author of several editions of the Australian federal government’s seminal Your Home Technical Manual. In 1992 I shared an Environmental Journalism Award with Gar Smith, editor of Earth Island Journal.

I'm the author of ‘Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a Changing Climate’, the flagship publication in Springer Press’ ‘Future City’ series, published in Australia by the CSIRO.

Meanwhile, the best of my current writing is delivered on David Maddox's superb 'The Nature of Cities' blog.


I'm a long-time advocate of ‘ecopolis’ and ‘urban fractals’. I'm the architect of dozens of sustainable buildings and ecocity concepts and have served in many advisory capacities, all associated with one or another aspect of ecological architecture and urbanism.

I've featured in international documentary films on ecocities and on Australian national TV, including the ABC’s science program ‘Catalyst’. In 2011 I presented at TEDx in Christchurch, New Zealand.


In February 2018 I joined Richard Register's 'Eocity World' enterprise.

Over the last few years, much of my work has been in China, promoting designs and ideas for ecological cities. The Chinese are serious. They may be our last hope of achieving the massive systemic change needed to get to a post-carbon future before we fry the planet.

The Chinese have honoured me with appointments including DeTao Master of Ecological Urban Design, senior consultant for Green World Solutions (Beijing) Co Ltd, and Chief Designer for the International Eco-Technology Institute/Agence C&P Architecture. I've also worked with the Chinese Society for Urban Studies and Chinese Academy of Sciences and am an Adviser to the Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government.

I'm on the URBIS (Urban Biosphere Initiative) Advisory Board and am an Expert Panel Member of Katerva (Impact Panel/Urban Design). My long-standing interest in the role of the media is reflected in projects like the 'Shelter' series of short movies I wrote and presented in 2010, produced by Josh Cockfield.


A graduate from the Welsh School of Architecture, my doctorate is in environmental studies from the University of Adelaide. I'm a seasoned presenter and have been an invited speaker on six continents. My background includes over 35 years of teaching architecture – two were at Yarmouk University in Jordan.

In 1989 I was founder of Greenhouse Association of South Australia, the first Australian community organisation focussed on climate change. In 1991 I was founding convener of not-for-profit Urban Ecology Australia advocating the urgent development of ecological cities to fight climate change and ecological collapse. I was a South Australian finalist for Australian of the Year 2008 and in 2012 received an Honorable Mention in the (En)Rich List for my contribution to sustainability.


I'm working with Sharon Ede & Cherie Hoyle to develop the Ecocity Design Institute as an on-line learning portal – it's slow going, but stay tuned!

urban evolutionary