Governance Challenges for Greening the Urban Economy: Understanding and Assessing the Links between Governance and Green Economy in Cities

Puppim de Oliveira, José A., Balaban, Osman, Doll, Christopher N.H., Moreno-Peñaranda, Raquel, Suwa, Aki, Kennedy, Erin, Dirgahayani, Puspita, Jiang, Ping and Dreyfus, Magali (2012). Governance Challenges for Greening the Urban Economy: Understanding and Assessing the Links between Governance and Green Economy in Cities. United Nations University.

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    Author Puppim de Oliveira, José A.
    Balaban, Osman
    Doll, Christopher N.H.
    Moreno-Peñaranda, Raquel
    Suwa, Aki
    Kennedy, Erin
    Dirgahayani, Puspita
    Jiang, Ping
    Dreyfus, Magali
    Title Governance Challenges for Greening the Urban Economy: Understanding and Assessing the Links between Governance and Green Economy in Cities
    Volume/Issue No. 6
    Publication Date 2012-06-23
    Place of Publication Yokohama
    Publisher United Nations University
    Pages 64
    Language eng
    Abstract The challenges for creating a greener economy and the institutional framework for sustainable development pass necessarily, or mostly, to cities, as they concentrate a large and growing part of the world’s economy and population, as well as decision-making power. Moreover, cities are centres of knowledge and innovation both technological and institutional that can make viable a greener economy and better governance within and beyond the cities. They are also hubs for social and political movements that catalyse societal transformations. With the processes of urbanization and rural-urban transformation, the economy in cities, especially in cities of developing countries, has been shifting from traditional artisanal crafts and markets to more modern industry and service sectors. The concentration of people, resources, knowledge, political power and economic activities in urban areas, if properly managed, can provide economies of scale and efficiency gains that lower the use of resources and energy, and thereby promote doing more with less, while offering fair outcomes to the most vulnerable people and the environment. In this sense, transitioning from the traditional “brown” economy to a greener economy could be achieved by reducing resource and energy consumption in cities through improving the key components of the urban economic process: transformation of space, production and consumption, circulation (trade and transportation), social and ecosystem services and knowledge generation. Greening of the urban process will only be achieved with better urban governance. As governance is embedded in institutions, which are humanly devised rules, we need to build the legitimate political and social mechanisms to green socio-ecological and economic systems. However, how can we assess whether or not current governance systems in these processes are steering cities towards a greener economy? If they are, how is the greening of the economy affecting people and ecosystems? Cities need to define a way to assess whether or not their governance system is moving them towards a greener economy that leads to sustainable development and poverty eradication, in the context of the city and beyond. Governance is not only about decisionmaking processes, but also about how those decisions are implemented and create positive changes for people and the environment. Thus, we propose a set of governance criteria to assess the greening of urban processes that go beyond the decision-making procedures, and includes the capacity to implement change, the results in greening the economy, and final outcomes on the ground. We also look at the obstacles, achievements and lessons in the greening of the direct and indirect economic processes in cities. The green economy and the institutional framework for a more sustainable development is intrinsically linked to the way cities operate, govern and “think”. The large concentration of decisions with a massive scale and far reaching impacts puts cities in the centre of the discussions about sustainable development. Understanding how the city economy and politics function and how they are connected to a larger world (regional, national, global) is fundamental to understand to create governance mechanisms and the institutions necessary to move the world towards a green economy.
    Copyright Holder United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies
    Copyright Year 2012
    Copyright type All rights reserved
    ISBN 9789280845303
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