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 6: Conclusion: in search of an answer to the key question

Jeroen van der Heijden


This leaves me with reflecting on the key question that drove the research presented in the book: What governance approaches and tools may help to improve the resource sustainability of our buildings and cities, may help to reduce their negative impacts on the natural environment and may make them more resilient to man-made and natural hazards? Unfortunately, after bringing together, mapping, describing and, to the extent possible, analysing 68 governance tools for urban sustainability and resilience, I cannot provide a single and rosy answer to this question. The three main governance problems discussed in Chapter 1 have not yet been overcome by the traditional and innovative governance tools discussed. These problems were identified as: Governments are slow to react to existing problems of urban sustainability and resilience. It often takes a long time to develop and implement legislation and regulation, and even longer for these to cause their effects. Introducing new legislation and regulation is often inconsequential. In developed economies cities develop too slowly for new legislation and regulation to be meaningful. In developing economies cities develop too rapidly for new legislation and regulation to be meaningful. A number of market barriers stand in the way to capitalize the economic benefits that more sustainable and resilient can cities bring.

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