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:

Cities provide paths from poverty to sustainability
Understanding how cities develop at the neighborhood level is key to promoting equitable, sustainable urbanization.
Improving the sustainability of US cities - new report
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a road map and recommendations to help US cities work toward sustainability, measurably improving their residents' economic, social, and environmental well-being.
Two tales of a city to understand sustainability
Just as there are two sides to every story, sustainability challenges have at least two stories to reach every solution.
Global sustainability projects offer hope for the future
Global examples of sustainability projects, which offer a positive future for the environment, have been identified by an international group of researchers including Professor Martin Solan from the University of Southampton.
Sustainability projects offer potential seeds for a more just future
It is rare to hear environmental scientists sounding positive about the future.
Sustainability criteria for transport biofuels need improvements
In its Renewable Energy Directive, the European Union has set a 10 percent goal for the use of renewable energy in transport by 2020.
Like to get more bang for your sustainability-boosting buck? Here's how
Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Michigan have developed a method for assessing and comparing the various costs and benefits of green products -- making it possible for purchasers to get the most environmental bang for their sustainability-investment buck.
Economic concerns drive sustainability in American cities and towns
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.
Sustainability management: Legitimacy is more important than profit for large companies
The driving force behind sustainability management activities of large companies is mainly the pursuit of social acceptance.
One Ecosystem Journal: Innovation in ecology and sustainability research publishing
Focused on the fields of ecology and sustainability, One Ecosystem is an innovative open access scholarly journal that goes beyond the conventional research article publication.

Related Sustainability Reading:

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

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...