Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development

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Overview

Here is a refreshing look at how American cities are leading the way toward greener, cleaner, and more sustainable forms of economic development.

In Emerald Cities, Joan Fitzgerald shows how in the absence of a comprehensive national policy, cities like Chicago, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle have taken the lead in addressing the interrelated environmental problems of global warming, pollution, energy dependence, and social justice. Cities are major sources of pollution but because of their population density, reliance on public transportation, and other factors, Fitzgerald argues that they are uniquely suited to promote and benefit from green economic development. For cities facing worsening budget constraints, investing in high-paying green jobs in renewable energy technology, construction, manufacturing, recycling, and other fields will solve two problems at once, sparking economic growth while at the same time dramatically improving quality of life. Fitzgerald also examines how investing in green research and technology may help to revitalize older industrial cities and offers examples of cities that don't make the top-ten green lists such as Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio and Syracuse, New York. And for cities wishing to emulate those already engaged in developing greener economic practices, Fitzgerald shows which strategies will be most effective according to each city's size, economic history, geography, and other unique circumstances. But cities cannot act alone, and Fitzgerald analyzes the role of state and national government policy in helping cities create the next wave of clean technology growth.

Lucid, forward-looking, and guided by a level-headed optimism that clearly distinguishes between genuine progress and exaggerated claims, Emerald Cities points the way toward a sustainable future for the American city.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Goes a long way toward filling [the] factual vacuum on clean energy development....The foundation of solid on-site business reporting and economic research on which Emerald Cities is built makes the book, as well as its author's formidable conclusions, worthwhile reading for anyone concerned about the relationship between the quality of life in the U.S economy and the sustainability of life on the planet."—The Huffington Post

"Fitzgerald, an urban planner, delivers informative accounts of contemporary trends, closing with an exhortation for national planning to mature green technologies."—Booklist

"Emerald Cities is definitely a must read....a nuanced and fair-minded study of urban sustainability and economic development."—Sustainability

"Comprehensive in scope, Emerald Cities is an invaluable resource for those desirous of sustainable and prosperous cities. Essential."—CHOICE

"Cities have long been places of innovation; this book showcases what is possible. Joan Fitzgerald captures in her stories the true essence of how cities have faced the crisis of climate change and responded with novel solutions that utilize energy efficiency and renewable energy. Those who know and believe in the power of cities to bring about change and want to make a difference must read her book."—Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, City of Los Angeles

"Few advocates of green cities actually pay enough attention to the potential economic benefits and value of the many sustainable ideas and technologies they promote. All that perhaps will change with the publication of this groundbreaking new book. This is the first comprehensive study of what cities are doing to grow green jobs and economy. In this tour de force, Fitzgerald shows where urban leadership and innovation are occurring, what's working and isn't, and what key lessons can be extracted for cities everywhere. This is an absolutely invaluable resource and essential reading for anyone working on the agendas of green urbanism and green cities."—Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, School of Architecture, University of Virginia

"Joan Fitzgerald brings the green economy to ground, namely to the cities and metros that are driving innovative energy and climate solutions and, in the process, catalyzing new economic possibilities. Her fine book illustrates the potential of Emerald Cities but also the necessity of smart national and state policies that, as in Germany, jumpstart markets and create jobs. Fitzgerald's federalist challenge could not be more timely and the economic and environmental stakes could not be higher."—Bruce Katz, Vice president and founding director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution

"Joan Fitzgerald has written an indispensable book on the green economic development opportunity for cities. "Emerald Cities" is neither cheerleading nor debunking. It is a clear-eyed, well-researched, and highly readable analysis of what cities can accomplish, and what complementary national, state and local policies are needed to accelerate this transition to a post-fossil fuel economy."—Ben Hecht, President & CEO, Living Cities

"Fitzgerald shines a spotlight on the important role that cities play in building a cleaner, safer, and more just America. Her book is a must-read road map for how we can develop a clean-energy economy that is ripe with broad opportunity and shared prosperity for communities around the country."—Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green For All

"Where we once considered environmental protection the enemy of the economy, current wisdom tells us that becoming green can serve as the engine of economic growth in cities. Yet there have been few clear examples of American cities making this connection, until now. Fitzgerald provides numerous examples of how the pursuit of urban sustainability has been used to create "green jobs" and leaves us with a sense of the enormous potential that can accrue from planning a local green economy."—Kent E. Portney, Professor, Department of Political Science, Tufts University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195382761
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 822,452
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Fitzgerald is the Director of the Law, Policy and Society Program at Northeastern University and the author of Moving Up in the New Economy: Career Ladders for U.S. Workers and Economic Revitalization: Cases and Strategies for City and Suburb. She lives in Boston.

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