Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic Development, the Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities, Volume 67

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MIT Press, 2003 - Science - 284 pages
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Today at least twenty-five major U.S. cities have pursued some form of sustainability initiative. Although many case studies and "how-to" manuals have been published, there has been little systematic comparison of these cities' programs and initiatives. In this book Kent Portney lays the theoretical groundwork for research on what works and what does not, and why.Distinguishing cities on the basis of population characteristics and region for his analysis, Portney shows how cities use the broad rubric of sustainability to achieve particular political ends. Cities that take sustainability seriously, such as Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle, use broad definitions that go well beyond concern for the physical environment or creating jobs. They pursue sustainability at many levels and integrate concern for economic development, the environment, and quality of life across all activities of city government. Cities that take sustainability less seriously, such as Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando, confine it to such issues as solid waste disposal, brownfields, redevelopment, and neighborhood beautification. Still other cities, such as New Haven, Brownsville, and Milwaukee, do considerably less to work toward sustainability.Portney begins by reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of sustainable development and sustainable communities. The comparisons that follow provide a foundation for assessing the range of what is possible and desirable for sustainability initiatives. In the book's conclusion, Portney assesses the extent to which cities can use the pursuit of sustainability either to foster change in public values or merely to reinforce values that are already reflected in systems of governance.

 

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Contents

Measuring the Seriousness of Sustainable Cities
31
The Environment Energy and Sustainable Cities
77
The Economic Development Side of Sustainability Growth versus Smart Growth
101
Communitarian Foundations of Sustainable Cities A Solution to the Tragedy of the Commons the NIMBY Syndrome and Transboundary Impacts?
125
Is a Sustainable City a More Egalitarian Place? Sustainable Communities Environmental Equity and Social Justice
157
Cities That Take Sustainability Seriously? Profiles of Eight Cities
177
Sustainable Cities in Practice More Cities More Questions
221
References
251
Index
271
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Page 10 - Local authorities construct, operate and maintain economic, social and environmental infrastructure, oversee planning processes, establish local environmental policies and regulations, and assist in implementing national and subnational environmental policies. As the level of governance closest to the people, they play a vital role in educating, mobilizing and responding to the public to promote sustainable development.
Page 10 - Because so many of the problems and solutions being addressed by Agenda 21 have their roots in local activities, the participation and cooperation of local authorities will be a determining factor in fulfilling its objectives.
Page 8 - CHAPTER 1 a strategy for improving the quality of life while preserving the environmental potential for the future, of living off interest rather than consuming natural capital. Sustainable development mandates that the present generation must not narrow the choices of future generations but must strive to expand them by passing on an environment and an accumulation of resources that will allow its children to live at least as well as, and preferably better than, people today. Sustainable development...
Page 26 - An urban regime may thus be defined as the informal arrangements by which public bodies and private interests function together in order to be able to make and carry out governing decisions.
Page 18 - A sustainable community is a place that seeks to contain the extent of the urban "footprint" and strives to keep to a minimum the conversion of natural and open lands to urban and developed uses.
Page 9 - ... of health and well-being, economic security, and a say in shaping their future while maintaining the integrity of the ecological systems on which all life and production depends" (City of Cambridge [Massachusetts] 1993, 30).

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