March 7, 2011

Growing Greener Cities Urban Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century

By: Eugenie L. Birch and Susan M. Wachter
growing-greener-cities

Nineteenth-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted described his most famous project, the design of New York's Central Park, as "a democratic development of highest significance." Over the years, the significance of green in civic life has grown. In twenty-first-century America, not only open space but also other issues of sustainability—such as potable water and carbon footprints—have become crucial elements in the quality of life in the city and surrounding environment. Confronted by a U.S. population that is more than 70 percent urban, growing concern about global warming, rising energy prices, and unabated globalization, today's decision makers must find ways to bring urban life into balance with the Earth in order to sustain the natural, economic, and political environment of the modern city.

"These authors provide a rich menu of ideas and examples for transforming our cities into models of energy efficiency, sustainability, quality living and economic revitalization."—Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior and author of Cities in the Wilderness: A New Vision of Land Use

In Growing Greener Cities, a collection of essays on urban sustainability and environmental issues edited by Eugenie L. Birch and Susan M. Wachter, scholars and practitioners alike promote activities that recognize and conserve nature's ability to sustain urban life. These essays demonstrate how partnerships across professional organizations, businesses, advocacy groups, governments, and individuals themselves can bring green solutions to cities from London to Seattle. Beyond park and recreational spaces, initiatives that fall under the green umbrella range from public transit and infrastructure improvement to aquifer protection and urban agriculture.

Growing Greener Cities offers an overview of the urban green movement, case studies in effective policy implementation, and tools for measuring and managing success. Thoroughly illustrated with color graphs, maps, and photographs, Growing Greener Cities provides a panoramic view of urban sustainability and environmental issues for green-minded city planners, policy makers, and citizens.

"Growing Greener Cities offers invaluable evidence that we can grow our cities' economies while continuing to repair their ecological foundation. The authors illustrate how the two go hand in hand and offer concrete methods for fixing some of the most challenging issues cities face today."—Andy Altman, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Philadelphia

Eugenie L. Birch is Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education and Chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Susan M. Wachter is Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management and Professor of Real Estate and Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Together, they direct the Penn Institute for Urban Research and are the coeditors of Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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