Chapter 1 Preview | Gary Gardner

Describing a sustainable city is no easy task. Cities differ in geography, climate, culture, history, wealth, and a host of other dimensions, each of which precludes any possibility of a one-size-fits-all approach to urban sustainability. In addition, no mature models of urban sustainability are available today, anywhere on the planet. And even at the definitional level, there is little agreement about what constitutes a sustainable city.

Although many of the necessary technologies and policies are well known, recipes for creating a fully sustainable city have not been developed, much less implemented. Because of these uncertainties, describing a sustainable city is, to some extent, an exercise in imagination. But is it enough? Without a defined set of yardsticks, the answer is unclear.

“Cities today are in an exciting position to take leadership on the preeminent challenge of our era: the effort to build sustainable economies.”

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