Chapter 10: Chicago and Pittsburgh: two paths to sustainable renewal
One of the issues that now concerns specialists in urban economics is sustainability. We should be concerned with our ability to manage economic development in a way that will bring well-being to future generations, rather than appropriate the benefits for our own generation. It is clear, however, that sustainability has many facets, too many to be considered in a single chapter. The most common understanding of sustainability is that of the environment – will we be so focused on maximizing our own material well-being that we will press our material expansion thoughtlessly, and contaminate the air and water and the very spaces in which we live so that future generations will be impoverished? Will the pace of our economic development lead to the exhaustion of the available material resources, both industrial and with regard to energy? Then there is demographic sustainability. Can we manage our population growth and its composition so that we will not exceed the capacity of the planet to provide food and water for the sustenance of future generations? Will the age distribution of the population have a sustainable balance among the various age cohorts? Will the mix of genders be appropriate? Finally, we should be concerned with the ability of our urban economies to retain or enhance their competitiveness vis-a-Vis other competing urban economies.
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