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Potential pitfalls on the transition to more sustainable cities and how they might be avoided

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Richard DawsonORCiD


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The urgent need to reconfigure urban areas so that they consume fewer resources, emit less pollution (including GHGs), are more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and are more sustainable in general, is increasingly being recognized. Now that many urban areas have set themselves on a trajectory to becoming sustainable cities, it is timely to point out some potential pitfalls that may be encountered along this transition. This review considers pitfalls that range from the practicalities of analyzing sustainability in cities through to more philosophical issues such as our understanding of urban sustainability. If the type of mitigative actions proposed in this artile to avoid these pitfalls are not taken, then well-meaning sustainability initiatives may result in undesirable side effects. However, a more fundamental shift in the way we engage with our cities is required if we are to realize a genuinely sustainable city.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dawson RJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Carbon Management

Year: 2011

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

Pages: 175-188

Print publication date: 01/04/2011

ISSN (print): 1758-3004

ISSN (electronic): 1758-3012

Publisher: Future Science Ltd.


DOI: 10.4155/cmt.11.8


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Funder referenceFunder name
EP/H003630/1UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council through a Career Acceleration Fellowship