This title offers realistic, innovative, in-depth strategies for assessing - and solving, through urban design and planning - the environmental problems that plague the world's cities. It presents proven, practical techniques for dealing with issues such as air quality, urban waste and emissions, brownfields, environmental hazards, and resource depletion. It is required as a reading for urban planners and designers - as well as environmental engineers.
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The publication on books and journal articles on "sustainability" in recent years has been relentless. Often sustainability is prominent in the title but hard to find in the text. Sustainable Cities is a unique entry in that it is a textbook, clearly designed to promote the understanding and implementation of sustainability principles among educators, students, planning practitioners, decision makers, administrators, and community leaders. As a senior urban planner at the World Bank, Leitmann has specialized in urban and environmental management. The author respects cities, which is important in a world experiencing rapid urbanization. The book includes 10 chapters, divided into three parts. In the first part, "Cities and Sustainability," the author presents historic views about the urban environment, assesses major problems and their underlying causes, and discusses whether urban development can be sustained. In the second part, "Planning to Sustain Cities," he provides an urban environmental planning framework, supported with analytical planning tools, strategies, and action plans. In the final section, "Managing to Sustain Cities," Leitmann provides a range of urban environmental management options, seasoned with many successful examples of good planning practice around the globe. Leitmann offers a realistic, concise assessment of the problems and underlying causes of global environmental degradation, as illustrated by Mexico City and Las Vegas. For example, based upon his three-part definition of urban sustainability (minimizing ecological footprints, sustaining production of wealth, and reducing key environmental impacts), Las Vegas, a rapidly developing, recklessly water-consuming desert city, is clearly a poster child for unsustainable urban growth, earning a "sustainability rating" of "two thumbs down" (p. 121). Leitmann proposes the "Local Environmental Action Planning" or LEAP process (p. 143), as a strategic alternative to current growth trends. LEAP seeks to stregthen local capacity to plan effectively in three ways: informed consultation (clarify environmental issues, involve key stakeholders, secure political commitment, and set priorities and objectives; integrated local environmental action plan (establish long-term goals with phased targeting, achieve stakeholder agreement or issue-oriented solutions, and develop specific action plans based upon least-cost project options, policy reforms, and institutional improvements); implementation (initiate projects, policies, and programs; institutionalize the process; and monitor and evaluate). Leitmann acknowledges that any planning process, including LEAP, has its problems and weaknesses. He warns, for example, of the danger of excluding stakeholders and allowing experts to dominate an intended "bottom-up" planning process and of potential political and/or bureaucratic opposition to needed institutional changes. LEAP is not merely a generic theory looking for experimental application. Leitmann presents case studies illustrating commitment to sustainability at several levels: international (global campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), national (phasing out leaded gasoline in Thailand), city (integrating the environment and urban development in Singapore), sectoral (matching sanitation services to socioeconomic status in Kumasi, Ghana), and neighborhood (perserving a community's informal role in solid waste management in Cairo). He provides a compendium of more than 200 examples of good planning practice from nations and cities around the globe, including 12 from North America. The book is clearly international in scale and pragmatic in concept, and is well suited for either academic or practical use. The chapters are coordinated to build Leitmann's planning framework, and their internal consistency enhances the boo's clarity. An introductory outline is followed by a well organized, readable text with informative charts, tables, box inserts, and visuals. At the end of each chapter are "Resources and Exercises for Further Thought" that include expanded comments by chapter subheading, recommended Web sites, further readings, organizational contacts, and a list of informative references. A variety of exercises encourage the user to apply chapter concepts to personal experience... Journal of the American Planning Association 20040524From the Author:
THE SOURCEBOOK OF PRACTICAL URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS
A historical transition will take place at the dawn of the new millennium: for the first time in human history, more than half the world's population will be living in cities. These cities currently generate two-thirds of economic wealth and will account for 80% of GDP growth during this decade. Population and economic growth in cities create externalities - more people making more things demand more resources and generate more waste. The resulting set of environmental problems, known as the "Brown Agenda", consists of: a) access to environmental infrastructure and services; b) pollution from urban wastes; c) resource losses; d) environmental hazards; and e) global environmental issues. A huge number of people are affected by urban environmental degradation: 1.1 billion people live in cities that exceed healthful levels of air quality; 420 million have inadequate sanitation; and 220 million city dwellers do not have access to safe drinking water. However, the Brown Agenda has been neglected until recently in favor of "green" issues such as natural resource management, biodiversity and global warming.
Mayors, city organizations and the development community (The World Bank, UNDP, UNCHS) began to recognize the importance of the urban environment in the early 1990s. Their successfully lobbying led to the inclusion of a chapter on local initiatives as part of the 1992 Earth Summit's "Agenda 21". Academia and non-governmental organizations followed suit with research, publications, training courses, and professional degrees for urban environmental management. However, no publication has yet assembled this wealth of theoretical and applied material in a textbook that can be used to meet the growing demand for academic and professional training.
The textbook is organized in three sections: 1) cities and sustainability; 2) planning to sustain cities; and 3) managing to sustain cities. The first section provides the rationale and a guide to using the textbook, reviews past thinking about the urban environment, assess key problems and their causes, and looks at whether urban development can be sustained. The second section presents a planning framework for the urban environment, describes useful tools for analysis and planning, and explains the development and use of urban environmental management strategies and action plans. The third section describes issues and options for managing the urban environment and presents intensive as well as extensive examples of good practice. A concluding chapter draws practical lessons for planning and managing, and reviews what we still need to know. Annexes are provided on urban environmental data for the world's major cities, resources for information and assistance, and resources for research and training.
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