Governance for Urban Sustainability and Resilience
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Governance for Urban Sustainability and Resilience

Responding to Climate Change and the Relevance of the Built Environment

Jeroen van der Heijden

Cities, and the built environment more broadly, are key in the global response to climate change. This groundbreaking book seeks to understand what governance tools are best suited for achieving cities that are less harmful to the natural environment, are less dependent on finite resources, and can better withstand human-made hazards and climate risks.
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Chapter 5: Trends in and design principles for governance for urban sustainability and resilience

Jeroen van der Heijden


The previous chapters have highlighted that there is no shortage of governance tools that governmental and non-governmental actors alike have implemented in seeking to achieve urban sustainability and resilience. In mapping and describing close to 70 different tools from Australia, Germany, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States it has, however, become clear that the performance of these tools is highly context specific. A tool that shows considerable successes in one context, for instance, ESCOs (see Chapter 4) in Singapore, was found to fail in another context, for instance, in the Netherlands. Also, whether a tool achieves desirable outcomes depends on the problem it seeks to address. For instance, best-of-class benchmarking tools (see Chapter 4) were found to have achieved considerable successes in the commercial sector, but not so in the residential sector. Thus, it would be a futile undertaking to try to design a single optimal governance tool that is applicable in a wide range of contexts and is able to address a wide variety of problems (this is a recurring conclusion in the literature, see, for example, Gunningham and Grabosky, 1998; Wurzel et al., 2013). The previous chapters have, however, provided me with a sufficient base to distil a series of design principles for governance for urban sustainability and resilience that may guide governments, businesses and civil society groups and individuals to develop governance tools targeted to their specific contexts and problems.

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