Nav: Home

Economic concerns drive sustainability in American cities and towns

April 25, 2016

BINGHAMTON, NY - While environmental issues are often cited as a major factor in cities and towns in pursuing sustainability, a new study shows that economic concerns can be just as important to local governments in adopting concrete sustainability plans.

Researchers from Binghamton University, Cornell University, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and two divisions of the American Planning Association measured local government action on energy, water, waste, land use and transportation, as well as social equity and economic development across 1,900 local governments. They found that, along with environmental concerns, the potential for fiscal savings and attracting development projects were significant factors in motivating sustainability efforts in these communities. The findings were published in the 2015 Local Government Sustainability Practices Survey.

"We found that fiscal concerns and economic development are important motivators for municipal governments to adopt new sustainability plans," said George Homsy, assistant professor of public administration at Binghamton University. "The biggest barriers for new sustainability plans are lack of funding and not having the organizational capacity to carry them out."

The survey also revealed planning for sustainable land use and transportation is more challenging, because it requires the municipal and state government to work together. While almost 47 percent of local governments have environmental goals, only 19 percent of local governments have dedicated budget resources for sustainability or environmental protection, and only 9 percent had dedicated staff.

"Our research shows that knowledge on sustainability needs to be exchanged between neighboring municipalities and with higher levels of government," Homsy said. "This can lead to co-production knowledge and policy - which builds local support, collaboration among neighbors and coordination from the local to state to national levels."
-end-
Funding for the study was provided by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Binghamton University

Related Sustainability Articles:

Assigning workers to new networks boosts sustainability
Innovation comes from people in different units who have new knowledge, and a new study about conservation organizations suggests encouraging employees to think and act outside network boxes from time to time.
People believe achieving environmental sustainability could hinder quality of life
Social wellbeing and community, not wider economy, uppermost in people's concerns over sustainability policies.
Study identifies way to enhance the sustainability of manufactured soils
Through its FABsoil project, the University of Plymouth -- in partnership with the world famous Eden Project and businesses in Cornwall, such as the Green waste Company -- is leading the quest to fabricate soils which could ultimately lead to the creation of custom-made, sustainable products across a range of locations and markets.
Sustainability-linked loans provide opportunities for chemical firms
Spurred by calculations showing that companies with a lower environmental impact are less of a financial risk, banks are beginning to offer cheaper loans if chemical firms hit agreed-upon levels of environmental performance.
Plainification holds promise for improving material sustainability
Researchers from Institute of Metal Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences proposed to advance material properties by plainification, which means tailoring stable interfaces at different length scales instead of alloying.
Newly proposed system of measurement could help determine community sustainability
A newly proposed system of measurement known as the community sustainability assessment system, or CSAS, could be used to define what it means to be a sustainable community as well as evaluate the impact of individual communities on global sustainability, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
The living wage may help us achieve social and environmental sustainability
Paying a living wage could be a step toward global economic and environmental sustainability, finds a first-of-its-kind study by the University of Surrey.
Environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance
It is the position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) that environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance, whether working with individuals or groups about their dietary choices or in setting national dietary guidance.
The science of sustainability
Can humans drive economic growth, meet rising demand for food, energy and water, and make significant environmental progress?
For wineries, competition boosts profits from sustainability
An international study of small- to medium-sized wineries and vineyards finds that the more sustainability practices a winery has in place, the better its financial performance -- and the effect is enhanced when a winery perceives significant pressure from competitors.
More Sustainability News and Sustainability Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.