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 23: Conclusion

Daniel A. Mazmanian and Hilda Blanco

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


We conceived of this volume as a way of bringing together between two covers a range of critical strategies for moving cities toward greater sustainability and a variety of methods for accomplishing this goal. Doing so has become imperative in light of the growing human global population, the migration of people to urban centers, and the extraordinary challenge this poses to the services provided by nature and the quality of the environment and health of all those affected. In the introductory chapter we posited that, while the transition to greater sustainability is not and can never be restricted to cities, urban centers have become the leading edge and exemplars in charting more sustainable paths forward. We argued also that any meaningful path must weave together both intra-and intertemporal dimensions of this challenge into a more comprehensive and systems approach – one that brings together in as harmonious a way as possible the three central dimensions of sustainability; that is, the three Es of economic, environmental and equitable sustainability. Moreover, as depicted in Figure 1.2 in Chapter 1 (reproduced here), the relation is not of equals but of nested dependency, with economic activity providing the building blocks of and nested within human society, and with the economy and society ultimately dependent on the natural environment and the services it provides. This is an enormous and complex undertaking, as anyone who has begun down the path can attest, which is all the more reason for providing this book.

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