How to Convert Brownfields to Green Energy Projects, and Do It Right

Bjorn Jensen (MCP ’10) came to some important conclusions when he looked at four brownfied-to-renewable energy projects. Three of these projects were successful, he says, despite the fact that they had significant (and typical) challenges, such as cleanup costs, liability risks, uncertainty, technical and legal complexity, and the need to coordinate multiple stakeholders. He found that these barriers were overcome through strong partnerships characterized by full cooperation among developers, property owners, regulators,

What Are the Risks and Opportunities of Regional Planning?

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.

How Can We Manage Our Water Supplies in a Way That Protects the Fish AND Makes Sure We Have Enough Drinking Water?

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.

Is There a Way to Promote Development in Coastal Areas of Costa Rica While Still Preserving the Natural Environment?

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?  What is

What Are Local Governments Doing to Adapt to Climate Change Impacts?

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?

Is Social Marketing Useful For Promoting Sustainability in Neighborhoods?

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?

What Are The Best Ways For Big Coastal Cities In Asia To Protect Themselves Against Flooding?

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.

The Environmental Case: Translating Values Into Policy, 3rd Edition

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.

Natural Experiments: Ecosystem-Based Management and the Environment

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.

Open for Business

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?

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