Chapter 5: Sustainability strategies for consumer products in cities
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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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