318 Pages

The City as Fulcrum of Global Sustainability


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A practical response to some of this century’s global woes, with proposals for long- and short-term solutions to issues of sustainability around the world.

This book responds to the some of the twenty-first century’s most assuming problems of our times: global warming, sub-national terrorism, natural resource depletion, and economic, environmental and financial crises. It finds short- and long-term solutions to these global woes by looking to the city as the fulcrum for introducing sustainability around the world. Beginning with an outline of a robust strategy of sustainable cities—or sustainable city-regions—that has emerged out of over two-and-a-half decades of theoretical and practical work, the authors show why these portentous problems can best be addressed at the local-regional scale. In the process, this book cuts through the received wisdom and popular misunderstandings about sustainability and peels away the conceptual fog and ideological confusion about the meaning of sustainability.

Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in North America, Europe and Asia, the authors examine both strong and weak examples of sustainable city approaches that validate their distinctive urban sustainability strategy. They discover keen insights and important lessons in these case studies for sustainability practice across the globe, whether in small towns in the US and Canada, large cities in Europe or tiny Chinese villages in Asia.  Their concluding chapter argues that only the road less travelled holds real promise of creating sustainable city-regions around the world guided by the toolkit of ecological and technological conviviality.

Preface and Acknowledgments; List of Tables and Figures; Introduction; Part I: Strategic Considerations; 1. Does Sustainable Development Lead to Sustainability?; 2. The Sustainable Cities Manifesto; 3. Variations on a “Green” Theme: Overcoming Semantics in the Sustainability Debate; 4. Don’t Pick the Low-hanging Fruit?; 5. From the City to the City-Region: The Sustainable Area Budget, Rural Partnerland and Sustainability Engine; 6. The Sustainable City Game as a Game and a Tool of Urban Design; Part II: Sustainable Cities Around the World; 7. Urban Dreams of Global Sustainability; 8. The Promise and Pitfalls of Chattanooga’s Entrepreneurial “Sustainability” Strategy; 9. Sustainability Comes to Okotoks, Alberta; 10. Vienna’s Westbahnhof Sustainable Urban Implantation − The City-as-a-Hill; 11. The Success of SUCCESS: The Chinese Village as Catalyst of Future Chinese Sustainable Cities; 12. The Long March to Sustainability in China; Closing Thoughts; Conclusion: Taking the Road Less Traveled; Appendix; Appendix A: Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability; Appendix B: Emerald City: A Roleplaying Sustainability Game; References; Index



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The City as Fulcrum of Global Sustainability
The City as Fulcrum of Global Sustainability
by Ernest J. Yanarella and Richard S. Levine
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2011 by ANTHEM PRESS 75-76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave. #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
Copyright © Ernest J. Yanarella and Richard S. Levine 2011
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The city as fulcrum of global sustainability / by Ernest J. Yanarella and Richard S. Levine.  p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-85728-772-4 (hardback : alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-85728-772-9 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Urban ecology (Sociology) 2. Sustainable development. 3. Cities and towns–Case studies. 4. Sustainability. I. Levine, Richard S. II. Title. HT241.Y37 2011 307.76–dc23 2011028420
ISBN-13: 978 0 85728 772 4 (Hbk) ISBN-10: 0 85728 772 9 (Hbk)
This title is also available as an eBook.
Preface and Acknowledgments List of Tables and Figures Introduction
Part I: Strategic Considerations Chapter 1 Does Sustainable Development Lead to Sustainability?
Chapter 2 Chapter 3
Chapter 4 Chapter 5
Chapter 6
The Sustainable Cities Manifesto
Variations on a “Green” Theme: Overcoming Semantics in the Sustainability Debate
Don’t Pick the Low-hanging Fruit?
From the City to the City-Region: The Sustainable Area Budget, Rural Partnerland and Sustainability Engine
The Sustainable City Game as a Game and a Tool of Urban Design
Part II: Sustainable Cities Around the World Chapter 7 Urban Dreams of Global Sustainability Chapter 8 The Promise and Pitfalls of Chattanooga’s Entrepreneurial “Sustainability” Strategy Chapter 9 Sustainability Comes to Okotoks, Alberta Chapter 10 Vienna’s Westbahnhof Sustainable Urban Implantation − The City-as-a-Hill
vii xi xv
3 23
41 53
115 141
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
The Success of SUCCESS: The Chinese Village as Catalyst of Future Chinese Sustainable Cities
The Long March to Sustainability in China
Closing Thoughts Conclusion Taking the Road Less Traveled
Appendix Appendix A Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability Appendix B Emerald City: A Roleplaying Sustainability Game
References Index
183 207
251 271
This book originated around 1990, when the two authors crossed paths on the main campus of the University of Kentucky and struck up a conversation about solar energy advances and the idea of sustainable cities. In spite of the gulf separating our disciplines (political science and architecture), we found an enormous overlap in interests in the solar movement and sustainability. Out of that stimulating discussion came a mutual commitment to engage in a series of periodic meetings guided by an evolving list of readings that might help clarify our common grounding in going beyond solar energy and conservation to a vision of sustainable cities emanating from the model of the polis (Yanarella) and the ideal of the medieval Italian hilltown (Levine). This reading and discussion process led to the penning of a sustainable city manifesto and to involvement in contributing to an international charter through Levine’s participation in the Aalborg conference in Denmark as keynote speaker. From there, the authors achieved modest university funding to support a multidisciplinary seminar and lecture series, which culminated in the establishment of the Center for Sustainable Cities as a joint research and policy center under the aegis of the university’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Architecture. The substantive chapters in this book are just part of the theoretical and design work generated from our individual and collaborative efforts over more than twenty-five years. While our programs and projects have gained only modest notice in the United States, their influence has been more substantial in Europe (particularly Italy and Austria, but also Germany), the Middle East and China. The development of a sister institution − Oikodrom: the Vienna Institute for Urban Sustainability − in Austria in 1994 under the able direction of Dr Heidi Dumreicher enabled us to get a foothold on a continent, where sustainability work has long been ahead of Anglo-American research. It also provided us with a string of collaborative research opportunities in the European Union that has advanced an urban sustainability agenda that has not been possible in the United States. One of our aspirations is that an Anglo-American audience reading this book will discover substance and
value in the theory, design and method of sustainable city-regions that we have painstakingly tried to articulate over two and a half decades. We have many people to thank for their witting and unwitting contributions to the efforts that have culminated in this book. I (Yanarella) wish to express my appreciation of the generation of graduate students at the University of Kentucky whose doctoral work carried the writing and design studies into new and fertile territory. These include: Robert W. Lancaster, Hugh Bartling, Christopher Rice, Donald Ferris and D. Gene Pace. I am proud of their involvement in PS 776 (Sustainable Urban Design) and subsequent coursework with me, and I am gratified that my intellectual-political commitments and theoretical vision have contributed to their further intellectual and social development and career trajectories. It is my hope that they will continue to plumb the writings of my mentors − Lewis Mumford, Patrick Geddes, Ernst Bloch and Antonio Gramsci − as they move into the mid-career stage. I am grateful for support from a variety of funding sources, especially the Canadian Studies Program, which permitted frequent travel to Canadian sites to study their urban sustainability programs, as well as the Kentucky Environmental Education Council, which recently supported valuable curricular and public education activities at the University of Kentucky and around the Bluegrass. To the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences and the Dean’s Office, I want to express my gratitude for being selected as the Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor for 2009–10. This coveted award gave me a paid semester off from teaching to finish this book and, in addition, subsidized some of the costs of its publication. I also wish to thank Lori Tripoli for the opportunity to serve on the editorial board and contribute toSustainability: The Journal of Record. I would also like to thank Matthew McCauley and Victor Shanker of the firm GeoSim, who have allowed me to develop high-level contacts in the context of joining them in presentations in Canada and the United States promoting their powerful 3D visualization software and services. While my co-author (Levine) believes Building Information Modeling software is the way to achieve our dream of a Sustainability Engine, I would put my money on GeoSim as the best evolving software to bring the Engine to fruition. For intellectual comradeship that has spanned decades, I owe a deep debt to Herbert G. Reid, who always seems to manage to think further into the theoretical horizon on important and compelling issues of democratic theory, global sustainability and social justice and to share so unselfishly his many profound theoretical and political insights over a lifetime with me and so many others. To my sustainability comrade in arms and coauthor, Richard S. Levine, I can never fully express what a deep and enriching experience it has been walking with him on this intellectual journey and how blessed I feel for his seriousness and generosity in so much we have tried to do to advance the cause of urban sustainability. Finally, and not
least of all, I thank my wife and soulmate, Elizabeth Walker Yanarella, for her love and support, as well as her many contributions in music and carpentry to sustaining our marriage, our family and our household economy.  I (Levine) wish first to extend my gratitude to the many generations of talented architecture students who accompanied me on this journey only to discover in my design studios either a compelling refuge from the prevailing fashion of the day or a great disaffection with the same. Many of the former have become lifelong friends and colleagues. Principal among them are Bob Koester and Bill Murrell, early students and collaborators who have each made significant contributions; Taqi Radmard, a frequent and brilliant partner over the years; and my current associates, Michael Hughes and Casey Ryan Mather, who have great careers ahead of them. In many ways, I owe the most to three powerful women. My late wife Anne Frye, a fine artist, provided the grounding to see the world as it should be and the terror to seek a realistic simulacrum of that impossible place. To my dear daughter Laura Alex Frye-Levine, who is emerging as an environmental force in her own right, I owe the gratitude of her loyalty to the person and the cause, and the forthrightness of her ideas and critique in spite of – or perhaps because of – my many shortcomings. I would like to thank my long-time colleague and dearest friend Heidi Dumreicher for the amazing things we have sometimes accomplished through her tolerance or intolerance of our mutual compatibilities or incompatibilities. The rock of my journey to this new world of sustainability has been my long-time colleague Ernie Yanarella, who has always been there with both his ideas and critique, as well as his mastery and understanding of the intellectual basis of our common work. In the end, I feel compelled to acknowledge an enduring debt to my colleagues and administrations at the University of Kentucky College of Architecture, whose diligent pursuit of prevailing paradigms over many decades has given this slow thinker the time and the solitude to imagine and rehearse an alternative world as it could be, should be and finally must be. We would be negligent if we did not thank Janka Romero and Tej P. S. Sood for their editorial guiding hands at Anthem Press. Their able stewardship of the book manuscript through the review and publication process, enormous patience in dealing with delays and good cheer through the process have sustained us throughout our labors. Our copyeditor, Florence Huffman, has deployed her perfectionist talents in translating our often arcane academic writing and technical language into fluid prose and a consistent style, for which we are deeply appreciative. Thanks too to Erik Davidshofer for taking on much of the typing and assembling the bibliography, without which this work would otherwise be the poorer.
Finally, we express our thanks to the following journals and their editors for giving us permission to incorporate all or part of previously published journal articles into this book:
Chapter 1: Yanarella, Ernest J. and Richard S. Levine. “Does Sustainable Development Lead to Sustainability?”Futures24 (October 1992): 759–74. Elsevier Ltd.
Chapter 2: Yanarella, Ernest J. and Richard S. Levine. “The Sustainable Cities Manifesto: Pre-Text, Text, and Post-Text.”Built Environment 18 (December 1992): 301–13. Alexandrine Press.
Chapter 3: Yanarella, Ernest J., Richard S. Levine and Robert Lancaster. “Green vs. Sustainability: From Semantics to Enlightenment.” Sustainability: The Journal of Record2 (October 2009): 296–302. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Chapter 4: Yanarella, Ernest J. and Richard S. Levine. “Don’t Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit! Counterintuitive Policy Advice for Achieving Sustainability.”Sustainability: The Journal of Record1 (August 2008): 256–61. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Chapter 6: Yanarella, Ernest J. and Richard S. Levine. “The Space of Flows, the Rules of Play, and Sustainable Urban Design: The Sustainability Game as a Tool of Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education.”International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education(2000): 48–66. Emerald 1 Publishing Group, Ltd.
Chapter 9: Yanarella, Ernest J. “Sustainability Comes to the Canadian Prairie: Lessons and Caveats from the Town of Okotoks, Alberta.”Terrain. org: A Journal of the Natural & Built Environments18 (Spring/Summer 2006): 191–208. Simmons Buntin, Terrain.org owner and editor.
Chapter 11: Levine, Richard S., Michael T. Hughes, C. Ryan Mather and Ernest J. Yanarella. “Generating Sustainable Towns from Chinese Villages: A System Modeling Approach.”Journal of Environmental Management87(April 2008): 305–16. Elsevier Ltd.
Ernest J. Yanarella and Richard S. Levine Lexington, Kentucky April 2011