Table of Contents

Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities

Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities

Strategies, Methods and Outlook

Elgar original reference

Edited by Daniel A. Mazmanian and Hilda Blanco

Against a backdrop of unprecedented levels of urbanization, 21st century cities across the globe share concerns for the challenges they face. This Companion provides a framework for understanding the city as a critical building block for a more sustainable future within broader subnational, national and continental contexts, and ultimately, within a global systems context. It discusses the sustainable strategies being devised, as well as the methods and tools for achieving them. Examples of social, economic, political and environmental sustainable policy strategies are presented and the extent to which they actually increase sustainability is analyzed.

Chapter 7: Strategies and considerations for investing in sustainable city infrastructure

Rae Zimmerman

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, environment, environmental sociology, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, urban studies


Infrastructure comprises a very large and diverse set of physical systems and social services, and financial strategies inevitably reflect the breadth of the concept. Infrastructure systems are essential to urban sustainability, and can resonate with urban and natural environments depending on their design. Over more than a century, for example, the water supplies of urban areas have been supplemented and supported by water sources often located many hundreds of miles away from where they are used (Zimmerman 2009, p. 229), and this practice is often not without conflicts. Energy resources including fuels have been similarly drawn from long distances to serve cities and their regions. New technologies and behavioral changes have been emerging to promote sustainability, supplementing and, in some cases, replacing traditional infrastructures that rely on distant resources, and these new approaches will present challenges to infrastructure finance. The extent to which infrastructure finance reflects urban sustainability goals will require public buy-in. Public opinion polls have shown that infrastructure categories tend to rank low as a priority; however, the areas that infrastructure impacts either directly or indirectly tend to rank higher.

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