Many of the ills facing metropolitan areas, such as traffic congestion, strained public infrastructure, and regional inequality, are caused, in large part, by the negative impacts one community faces because of the decisions of another. For example, as a town far outside the urban core develops more housing, it may create more traffic for communities further in as commuters shuttle through to centers of employment or education. Without effective mechanisms for both horizontal (e.g. city to city) and vertical (e.g.
Since January 2010, the Massachusetts Sustainable Water Management Initiative – a collaborative decision making process involving state agencies, water suppliers, and environmentalists – has worked to develop new water policies that address urbanization and its impact on natural ecosystems. The goal is to more sustainably balance water withdrawals and ecological water needs under the state’s Water Management Act.
Costa Rica needs to pay attention to the rapid change that coastal regions have been undergoing as a result of tourism and real estate projects. Despite the economic benefits in terms of jobs and foreign investment, many have raised concerns over construction in high slopes, approval of projects without the necessary water and wastewater infrastructure, deforestation, and the displacement of the local population. Is there a way to promote development in coastal areas of Costa Rica while still preserving the natural environment and benefiting coastal communities in the long term?
Cities around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the need to prepare for climate-driven changes, including greater variability in temperature, precipitation, and natural disasters. However, since systematic studies have not been conducted, there is limited understanding of climate adaptation planning in cities. What is the status of adaptation planning globally, what approaches are cities taking to prepare for climate impacts, and what challenges do they face?
Social marketing has long been used in the field of public health, but its application in the environmental world is only a decade old. McKenzie-Mohr and Smith’s (1999) guide to fostering sustainable behavior through “community-based social marketing” (CBSM) has gained widespread support. However, there have been few attempts to delineate when and where CBSM can (and should) be used. Nor has CBSM been fully connected to the literature on long-term neighborhood sustainability. Is social marketing useful for promoting sustainability in neighborhoods?
Managing the impacts of climate change is no longer a concern of the future, but a significant reality of the present – especially for coastal megacities in Asia where flood management is a pressing concern. In order for big coastal cities in Asia to better protect themselves against floods, Shoko Takemoto argues that it is important to closely examine how cities are already managing climate vulnerability and change, what factors shape their approach, and how climate change adaptation can fit within their actions and perceptions towards future planning.
Environmental policy cannot be seen in just black and white, but instead contains many shades of gray. Environmental battles—even the most heated—are essentially conflicts among those with fundamentally different values, and how problems are framed in politics plays a central role in shaping how these values are translated into policies. Judith Layzer explores these two main themes in environmental policy making in the anticipated third edition of The Environmental Case.
Scholars, scientists, and policymakers have hailed ecosystem-based management (EBM) as a remedy for the perceived shortcomings of the centralized, top-down, expert-driven environmental regulatory framework established in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. EBM entails collaborative, landscape-scale planning and flexible, adaptive implementation. But although scholars have analyzed aspects of EBM for more than a decade, until now there has been no systematic empirical study of the overall approach.
Since the 1970s, conservative activists have invoked free markets and distrust of the federal government as part of a concerted effort to roll back environmental regulations. They have promoted a powerful antiregulatory storyline to counter environmentalists’ scenario of a fragile earth in need of protection, mobilized grassroots opposition, and mounted creative legal challenges to environmental laws. But what has been the impact of all this activity on policy?
Almost fifty years ago, America's industrial cities—Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore, and others—began shedding people and jobs. Today they are littered with tens of thousands of abandoned houses, shuttered factories, and vacant lots. With population and housing losses continuing since the 2007 financial crisis, the future of neighborhoods in these places is precarious. How we will rebuild shrinking cities and what urban design vision will guide their future remain contentious and unknown.