Xuemei Bai is a senior science leader at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Canberra, Australia. She was a senior research fellow at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Hayama, Japan, at the time the article was written.
Integrating Global Environmental Concerns into Urban Management: The Scale and Readiness Arguments
Article first published online: 8 FEB 2008
Journal of Industrial Ecology
Volume 11, Issue 2, pages 15–29, April 2007
How to Cite
Bai, X. (2007), Integrating Global Environmental Concerns into Urban Management: The Scale and Readiness Arguments. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 11: 15–29. doi: 10.1162/jie.2007.1202
- Issue published online: 8 FEB 2008
- Article first published online: 8 FEB 2008
- carbon management;
- developing countries;
- industrial ecology;
- sustainable cities
Due to the growing numbers of cities and urban residents, cities have increasingly contributed to global environmental issues. Many studies have pointed out that the city administrative level is a crucial level at which to address global issues. Nevertheless, integrating global concerns into local management remains a difficult task for the majority of cities. Building on existing theoretical and empirical studies, this article explores the obstacles that impede cities from addressing global environmental concerns, the opportunities for removing the obstacles, and strategies for bringing global issues onto the local level. Many of the obstacles are reflections of contradictory perceptions, concerns, interests, and priorities, which are presented in the form of two arguments, namely the scale argument and the readiness argument, in this article. The close linkages between global and local environmental issues and the potential economic benefits arising from addressing global concerns at the local level may provide opportunities and incentives for cities to take action earlier. The author further argues that although empirical studies in developed cities suggest that the most effective way to get municipal governments to address global concerns is by not talking about the “global,” an overly localized policy might not always result in a net gain in a developing city setting.