Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics
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Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics

Edited by Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

This major reference book comprises specially commissioned surveys in environmental and resource economics written by an international team of experts. Authoritative yet accessible, each entry provides a state-of-the-art summary of key areas that will be invaluable to researchers, practitioners and advanced students.
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Chapter 38: Urban Sustainability

D. Banister


David Banister 1. Introduction Urban sustainability is not just about making towns and cities more efficient in terms of their use of resources. The main objective is to improve the quality of life by providing affordable housing, employment opportunities, a wide range of facilities and services, with a high-quality environment in safe and secure surroundings. It also aims to provide quality through open space, green space, and it could include cultural, leisure and recreational resources, as well as the dynamics of cities as users of resources and producers of waste. The discussion here will be focused on three of the key elements which contribute to that quality - land, energy and transport - and the range of decisions which have to be made (Banister and Button, 1993). The main question is, how can we reverse the movement of employment and people out of our cities as this is reducing the already high levels of urban sustainability? The answer must be a combination of factors as suggested here to enhance the quality, attractiveness, distinctiveness and opportunities which urban areas are uniquely able to offer (see Haughton and Hunter, 1994; Nijkamp and Perrels, 1994). Some 70 per cent of the population of developed countries live in urban areas (over 25 000 population), but development patterns have become increasingly car-dependent, land-hungry and energy-intensive - urban sustainability is being reduced. The consequences are now being felt in terms of environmental pollution, congestion, loss of countryside and the use of all forms of non-renewable resources....

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