The opening chapter notes that more than half of the world’s current population live in urban settlements. From a historic perspective, the exponential growth of the urban population is a result of cities becoming the ultimate destination for fulfilling the aspirations of material comfort, prosperity and various opportunities. Two of history’s most renowned urban centres, Ur and Anyang, are examined briefly—both failed due to excessive demand without considering the natural capacity and their lack of preparation for the challenges of climate change. The magnitude and complexity of the problems we face today are far greater than those experienced by Ur and Shang. We have to change the way in which we construct our cities, communities and buildings in order not to repeat the failings of past civilisations. This chapter introduces some insights into the ideals of sustainable development, and, subsequently, the concept of eco-development.