This article deals with the eco-city concept of the XX century end and the beginning of the XXI century. The model of urban metabolism proposed by Abel Wolman was chosen as the method of analysis. Based on the results of the comparative analysis, we concluded that emphasis of eco-city approaches has shifted over the past decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, emphasis was placed on limiting the consumption of resources, including through the urban and transport planning, while after 2000 the focus was on the limitation of waste generation, the green production and alternative energy development. At the same time, modern eco-cities concepts are becoming more oriented towards human needs and social problems solving. We concluded about the possibilities of applying foreign approaches in the Russian cities and proposed a set of specific measures in the field of the city environmental policy. It is noted that the approaches of territorial development (such as new urbanism, urban villages, transit-oriented development, traditional neighborhood development, pedestrian pockets) were initially practice-oriented and practically do not need adaptation in Russia. However, group of approaches based on green technologies, alternative energetics and energy efficiency, waste recycling and the elimination of accumulated environmental damage are certainly in demand in Russia, but they need adaptation taking into account the Russian natural and climatic characteristics. For Russian cities, we propose the following measures: declaration of transition to the «environmentally sustainable development» model; the development of a mechanism for the solution and prevention of environmental conflicts; the allocation of special ecological and economic cities and territories; launch of the priority national project for the development of environmentally friendly modes of transport; implementation of the road map for the creation of green cities; inclusion in the system of assessment of the activities of municipal authorities of environmental indicators; the restriction of multi-storey buildings construction, the formation of new green areas, etc.