Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities
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Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities

Strategies, Methods and Outlook

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.
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Chapter 5: Sustainability strategies for consumer products in cities

Gregory A. Keoleian, Joshua P. Newell, Ming Xu and Erin Dreps


The scholarly literature on urban sustainability, as well as policy and planning practice, has mostly dealt with cities as geographically bounded places. This research has emphasized how buildings, land-use patterns and transportation systems in cities contribute to energy consumption, GHG emissions, water use and other aspects of resource consumption, as well as how to integrate nature into the local urban fabric (Portney 2003; Wolch et al. 2004; Kellert et al. 2011; Brown et al. 2008; Wheeler and Beatley 2004; Beatley 2010; Cervero and Sullivan 2011). As a result, strategies to promote sustainable communities are largely place-based, with the scale of such efforts ranging from single buildings, to urban districts, larger communities, cities or metropolitan regions. One example includes the widely used LEED certification programs for individual buildings and new communities, and efforts such as California’s legislation (SB 375 or the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act) that requires jurisdictions to craft land-use and transportation planning strategies to reduce GHG emissions. Sustainably designed buildings, land-use patterns and transportation systems are clearly important, but so too is understanding the consumption impacts of urban dwellers. The larger material flows highlighted by ecological footprint analysis (Wackernagel et al. 2006) and urban metabolism studies (Kennedy et al. 2008) are frequently excluded from city-scale planning action.

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