The Department for Communities & Local Government will announce up to 15 potential locations in the next fortnight, which will be followed by a public consultation before the final list is drawn up.
Housing minister Caroline Flint said 60 proposals had been put forward and 10 would make the final list, expected to be unveiled in the summer.
At the Ecobuild 2008 conference last week, Ms Flint outlined some of the criteria successful bids would have to meet.
She said: “The best proposals [will] all have a very important principle in common. An emphasis on investment in the community the jobs and transport, schools and surgeries, parks and cultural facilities which will make eco towns places to be proud of.”
Developments will have to set aside an acre of green space for every 100 homes.