Rethinking Sustainable Cities: Mu...
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE This article was downloaded by: [B-on Consortium - 2007] On: 4 November 2010 Access details: Access Details: [subscription number 919435511] Publisher Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37- 41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Environmental Politics Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713635072 Rethinking Sustainable Cities: Multilevel Governance and the 'Urban' Politics of Climate Change Harriet Bulkeleya Michele Betsillb a Department of Geography, University of Durham, Durham, UK b Department of Political Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA Online publication date: 08 September 2010 To cite this Article Bulkeley, Harriet and Betsill, Michele(2005) 'Rethinking Sustainable Cities: Multilevel Governance and the 'Urban' Politics of Climate Change', Environmental Politics, 14: 1, 42 ��� 63 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/0964401042000310178 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0964401042000310178 Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdf This article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug doses should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
Rethinking Sustainable Cities: Multilevel Governance and the ���Urban��� Politics of Climate Change HARRIET BULKELEY* & MICHELE M. BETSILL** *Department of Geography, University of Durham, Durham, UK **Department of Political Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA ABSTRACT While sustainable cities have been promoted as a desirable goal within a variety of policy contexts, critical questions concerning the extent to which cities and local governments can address the challenges of sustainability remain unanswered. We use a multilevel governance perspective to examine the discursive and material struggles which take place in creating sustainable cities. In exploring the politics of implementing climate protection through development planning in Newcastle upon Tyne and transport planning in Cambridgeshire, we find that the interpretation and implementation of sustainability are shaped by forms of governance which stretch across geographical scales and beyond the boundary of the urban. We argue that the ���urban��� governance of climate protection involves relations between levels of the state and new network spheres of authority which challenge traditional distinctions between local, national and global environmental politics. Introduction Since the 1987 Brundtland Report drew attention to the importance of cities as a means through which to address the challenge of sustainable development, concepts of sustainable cities and urban sustainability have gained significant (rhetorical) ground internationally.1 In the UK, central government explicitly supported the development of Local Agenda 21 (LA21), and has since developed a framework for developing ���sustainable communities��� (O���ce of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), 2003). From waste and air quality manage- ment, through to transport and land use planning, local authorities and the urban areas which they govern are increasingly charged with delivering sustainable development. Despite this near-universal recognition that sustainable cities and sustain- able communities are a desirable policy goal, there is less certainty about what this might mean in practice. Most analyses of urban sustainability Correspondence Address: Harriet Bulkeley, Department of Geography, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. Fax: + 441913341801 Tel.: + 441913341940 Email: H.A.Bulkeley@durham.ac.uk Environmental Politics, Vol. 14, No. 1, 42 ��� 63, February 2005 ISSN 0964-4016 Print/1744-8934 Online # 2005 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/0964401042000310178
attempt to document the extent to which cities are, or are not, becoming more sustainable through the use of indicators, flows, footprints and so on, and the practical challenges which are being encountered in putting the sustainable cities agenda in place. While this is no doubt important, as Whitehead (2003, p.1187) suggests, ���such work has tended to reduce the analysis of sustainable urban development to a technical matter of institutional restructuring, tra���c management, architectural design and the development of green technologies���. This propensity for analyses of urban sustainability to focus on technocentric models and wish-lists of measures which should be introduced (Haughton & Hunter, 1994 Hall & Pfeiffer, 2000 Ravetz, 2000) has meant that critical questions concerning the political struggles which take place in defining what urban sustainability might entail have been neglected (Marvin & Guy, 1997 Evans et al., 2001 Whitehead, 2003). Equally, the focus on the ���urban��� has meant that analyses have tended to divorce the local from the other scales through which environmental governance is conducted (Marvin & Guy, 1997), and to ignore ���important changes in the ways in which local areas and economies are governed��� (Gibbs & Jonas, 2000, pp.299���300) and hence the contexts within which urban sustainability is taking shape. Such thinking reflects a broader tendency within literatures of environ- mental politics where ���levels of decisionmaking have been conventionally examined as if they were independent��� (Adger et al., 2003, p.1101 see also Shaw, 2004). As a result, analyses of ���global���, ���national��� and ���local��� environmental politics tend to take place in isolation, and there is little questioning of the geographical imaginations which underpin the idea of nested and discrete scales of political authority over the environment. In order to provide an alternative approach to thinking about sustainable cities, we turn to one specific issue ��� the role of planning in the pursuit of climate protection ��� which begins to blur these boundaries by meshing the global and local in the presence of the nation-state. We contend that multilevel governance perspectives can start to open up these divisions, and provide insight into the opportunities and contradictions which emerge in the interpretation and implementation of urban sustainability across a range of scales and spheres of governance. We explore how the politics of implementing climate protection through development planning in Newcastle upon Tyne and transport planning in Cambridgeshire have taken shape,2 and consider the insights which different interpretations of multilevel governance provide for the analysis of the material and discursive struggles over sustainability in these places. Sustainability and the City Initial international attention to the links between urbanisation, environmental quality and poverty during the 1970s focused on the need for human settlements to provide adequate shelter, sanitation and local environmental Rethinking Sustainable Cities 43