Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic Development, the Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities / Edition 1

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Overview

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 have been few systematic comparisons 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 Boston, Cleveland, 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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Editorial Reviews

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"The focus on 'communities' in this book is perhaps an important guide to the future." Sylvia Karlsson Environment
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kent E. Portney is Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. He is the author,coauthor, or coeditor of a number of books, including The Rebirth of UrbanDemocracy and Acting Civically: From Local Neighborhoods to HigherEducation.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Sustainability, Sustainable Economic Development, and Sustainable Communities: The Conceptual Foundations of Sustainable Cities 1
2 Measuring the Seriousness of Sustainable Communities 31
3 The Environment, Energy, and Sustainable Cities 77
4 The Economic Development Side of Sustainability: Growth versus Smart Growth 101
5 The Communitarian Foundations of Sustainable Cities: A Solution to the Tragedy of the Commons, the NIMBY Syndrome, and Transboundary Impacts? 125
6 Is a Sustainable City a More Egalitarian Place? Sustainable Communities, Environmental Equity, and Social Justice 157
7 Cities That Take Sustainability Seriously? A Profile of Eight Cities 177
8 Sustainable Cities in Practice: More Cities, More Questions 221
References 251
Index 271
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