Are 'Green' Cities Sustainable?

The University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and
the National Center for Smart Growth’s 2013 Brown Bag Webinar Series continues with
 
 

Are 'Green' Cities Sustainable?

Presentation by Jim Cohen UMD

Wednesday, December 4
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

 View the Webinar Recording 
(uses Adobe Connect)

Preinkert Field House - Conference Room 1112V
University of Maryland College Park

 
Green Cities of Europe, a 2012 book edited by Timothy Beatley, contains profiles of eight cities – including Copenhagen – that are celebrated for their ‘green’ features. In the same year the book was published, the World Wildlife Fund posted its most recent Living Planet Report, which includes a section displaying the “ecological footprints” of 159 countries. What is striking is that the countries in which many of the “green” cities are located include those with the world’s heaviest ecological footprints. For example, Denmark has the world’s 4th highest ecological footprint – even higher than the U.S. – while Belgium, The Netherlands, Ireland, Finland, and Sweden are also among the 15 biggest footprint countries. The webinar will explore some reasons for this apparent disconnect between “green” cities and the “bigfoot countries” in which they are located. It will critique the utility of ecological footprint calculation to assess a nation’s “sustainability.” And it will conclude with some contrasting views on how nations and the global community can secure a future in which we earthlings are living within the earth’s capacity to support us.
 
Jim Cohen is Director of the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland, where he teaches graduate courses in planning history and theory and in growth management and environmental planning. He also teaches an undergraduate course entitled “The Sustainable City: Exploring Opportunities and Challenges.” This webinar will be an exploration of a question that arose while teaching the latter course.