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Environmentally sustainable cities. Critical review and operational conditions


  • Kostas P. Bithas

    (Department of Economic and Regional Development, Panteion University, Athens, Greece)

  • M. Christofakis

    (Department of Economic and Regional Development, Panteion University, Athens, Greece)


The political objective calling for environmentally sustainable development has provided the canvas for lively dialogue amongst scientists and analysts. Be that as it may, what have been found wanting are operational conditions for the achievement of environmental sustainability within specific anthropogenic systems, with cities being cited as a prime example of such systems. Indeed, from a historical perspective, cities have always been based on the concentration of humans and man-made elements, resulting in respective confinement of natural assets. As cities possess particular properties for their environmental basis, the general conditions governing sustainability require suitable modifications when applied to cities. In this context, the present paper examines the conditions for environmentally sustainable development in urban systems. The specific natural and socioeconomic characteristics of urban systems are systematically taken into account for defining environmentally sustainable development in cities. The paper proposes an operational framework for evaluating urban systems for their environmental performance. Urban systems, presenting specific characteristics necessary for creating welfare with high density, ask for particular conditions for their environmentally sustainable development. These conditions differ substantially from those defining sustainability in broader geographical systems. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Kostas P. Bithas & M. Christofakis, 2006. "Environmentally sustainable cities. Critical review and operational conditions," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 177-189.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:14:y:2006:i:3:p:177-189
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.262

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Camagni, Roberto & Capello, Roberta & Nijkamp, Peter, 1998. "Towards sustainable city policy: an economy-environment technology nexus," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 103-118, January.
    2. Christensen, Paul P., 1989. "Historical roots for ecological economics -- Biophysical versus allocative approaches," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 17-36, February.
    3. Solow, Robert M, 1974. "The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 1-14, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nuray Kizilaslan & A. Zafer Gürler & Halil Kizilaslan, 2007. "An analytical approach to sustainable development in Turkey," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 254-266.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1259-:d:105081 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tan Yigitcanlar & Md. Kamruzzaman, 2015. "Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities: A Commentary from the Guest Editors," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(11), pages 1-12, November.
    4. Stossel, Zeev & Kissinger, Meidad & Meir, Avinoam, 2015. "Measuring the biophysical dimension of urban sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 153-163.
    5. Raza, Syed Shabbar & Janajreh, Isam & Ghenai, Chaouki, 2014. "Sustainability index approach as a selection criteria for energy storage system of an intermittent renewable energy source," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 909-920.
    6. Miguel F. Salvado & Susana G. Azevedo & João C. O. Matias & Luís M. Ferreira, 2015. "Proposal of a Sustainability Index for the Automotive Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-32, February.
    7. Umberto Berardi, 2013. "Sustainability assessment of urban communities through rating systems," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 1573-1591, December.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:5:p:1399-:d:144171 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Akgün, Aliye Ahu & van Leeuwen, Eveline & Nijkamp, Peter, 2012. "A multi-actor multi-criteria scenario analysis of regional sustainable resource policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 19-28.

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