Rapid urbanization has brought environmentally, socially, and economically great challenges to cities and societies. To build a sustainable city, these challenges need to be faced efficiently and successfully. This paper focuses on the environmental issues and investigates the ecological approaches for planning sustainable cities through a comprehensive review of the relevant literature.The review focuses on several differing aspects of sustainable city formation. The paper provides insights on the interaction between the natural environment and human activities by identifying environmental effects resulting from this interaction; provides an introduction to the concept of sustainable urban development by underlining the important role of ecological planning in achieving sustainable cities; introduces the notion of urban ecosystems by establishing principles for the management of their sustainability; describes urban ecosystem sustainability assessment by introducing a review of current assessment methods, and; offers an outline of indexing urban environmental sustainability. The paper concludes with a summary of the findings.