International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 1
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International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 1

Contentious Global Issues

Edited by H. S. Geyer

This first Handbook in a series of three original reference works looks at globally contentious urban policy issues from a wide variety of different angles and perspectives. Matters related to urban densification, population mobility, urban inequality and sustainability are analysed in a manner that will not only interest the advanced student but also the novice.
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Chapter 15: Urban Environmental Policy in Europe: An Outline

R. Evans


R. Evans Introduction Cities are at the heart of Europe. Four out of five Europeans currently live in urban areas, which in turn account for around one-quarter of the European Union’s total land area. In some ways, this concentration of population may be seen as positive in that land use and energy costs per person are potentially lower, whilst there are economies of scale in the provision of basic services such as waste water treatment. However, it is equally the case that cities are the locus of environmental problems. For example, the ecological footprint of London – the ecological impact that the city has – is enormous. It is calculated that London needs twice the land area of the United Kingdom in order to support its activities. Londoners have an ecological footprint of 5.8 global hectares per person – three times what is available naturally (London ReMade, 2005) – or put another way, Londoners consume three times their ‘fair share’ of the globe’s resources. Londoners are not unusual. Although there are significant variations between the living standards experienced in European cities, in general, European citizens have a high consumption lifestyle and as a consequence of this, high levels of consumption of energy, raw material and resources. This in turn is translated into urban environmental problems such as poor air quality, high levels of ambient noise, greenhouse gas emissions, urban sprawl, waste generation and traffic congestion. As from January 2007, there are 27 Member States comprising the European Union, with a number of...

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