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City and Environment Interactions

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Urban sustainability, Social-ecological-technological systems, Space -- Scale -- Dimension, Stakeholders -- Urban governance


Urban sustainability is the goal of many cities in the world, yet very few have achieved a level of sustainability that goes beyond the most basic environmental objectives. The practice and assessment of sustainability implementation are greatly compounded by lack of funding, technical know-how, political will, and the power disparity between dominant institutions and marginalized communities. This systematic analysis of urban sustainability literature involved the review of 241 studies published between 2010 and 2022. We critically examined current debates and challenges in urban sustainability, identifying gaps and opportunities and providing recommendations for creating equitable, just, and sustainable urban futures. We also reviewed 23 studies to summarize the social, ecological, and technological systems (SETS) indicators used to measure urban sustainability in the same period, many of which may not be relevant to the lived experiences of marginalized communities. To move toward more meaningful and equitable pathways, it is important to develop SETS indicators of urban sustainability that are reflective of the experiences and priorities of diverse groups in society. This review identifies four major issues in the current urban sustainability literature: space, scale, stakeholders, and dimension. These issues need to be centered in sustainability planning in order to develop solutions that are appropriate for the local context.


© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.



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