• Climate Change and City Hall
  • Volume 15 Number 1
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

How Are U.S. Cities Doing Sustainability? Who Is Getting on the Sustainability Train, and Why?

James H. Svara, Tanya C. Watt, Arizona State University

Hee Soun Jang, University of North Texas


 

Using information from a 2010 International City/County Management Association survey of 2,176 local governments, this article considers why and how counties, cities, and towns are pursuing sustainability objectives. The article first breaks down sustainability into 12 distinct areas, with discussion of the activities local governments are pursuing in each area, and then develops explanatory models to consider the factors that might motivate sustainability activities. Although most communities are participating in some sustainability activities, they are generally not taking advantage of the more innovative possibilities available to them. Multivariate analyses indicate that sustainability does not appear to be an issue associated with a “typical” division based on race, class, or community wealth. Our evidence also suggests that those communities that give a high priority to energy conservation achieve higher sustainability ratings than other communities.


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