Policy & Governance

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

Policy and governance instruments will be critical in supporting sustainable urban infrastructure transitions. Decisions at all levels of government can influence the adoption of infrastructure innovations or they can entrench exiting path dependencies, in turn making change difficult. For example, current regulations and policy in many cities limit water reuse, micro-grid integration, and urban agriculture.

Disruptive technologies and infrastructure innovations can be powerful transition drivers, but virtually all will need accompanying policy guidance to ensure that widespread deployment of new technology does not lead to unintended negative consequences (e.g. self-driving cars leading to increased sprawl and vehicle miles traveled). New governance mechanisms and institutions, both formal and informal, will need to evolve in order to strike an appropriate balance that effectively facilitates, rather than impedes, sustainable infrastructure transitions driven by new technologies and infrastructure reconfiguration.

While it is important to design smart policies at individual scales of government, sustainable urban infrastructure transitions also demand sophisticated coordination of policy actors across infrastructure sectors & levels of government (e.g., city sustainability offices, metropolitan planning organizations, & regional entities).

The network’s policy and governance research efforts focus on understanding the most effective policy and governance configurations that support infrastructure transitions via redesign, reconfiguration, and technological innovation. Similarly, network researchers are working to identify the motivations of different policy and governance actors for investing in or supporting sustainable urban infrastructure transitions.

OUR PRODUCTS

Design Choices and Equity Implications of Community Shared Solar

  • May 2018
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Author: Multiple

Chan, G., Evans, I., Grimley, M., Ihde, B., & P. Mazumder. (2017). Design choices and equity implications of community shared solar. The Electricity Journal, 30 (2017), 37-41. ABSTRACT: What is the … Read more

City-level Action to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Food Systems

  • May 2018
  • Journal Brief
  • Author: Dana Boyer and Anu Ramaswami

How do city-level actions related to food production, consumption, and food waste management affect the greenhouse gas (GHG), water and land impacts of the larger food system? Footprints of urban … Read more

Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Transitions in the ASEAN Region: A Resource Perspective (UN Environment and Sustainable Healthy Cities collaboration)

  • February 2018
  • Report
  • Author: Multiple

The ASEAN nations are a hot spot for rapid urbanization over the next 30 years: Between 2015 and 2050, ASEAN cities are projected to add 205 million new urban residents … Read more

The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization (International Resource Panel report with Sustainable Healthy Cities contributing authors)

  • February 2018
  • Report
  • Author: Multiple

Over the next 30 years, an additional 2.4 billion people are likely to be added to the global urban population. This increase in population will result in a significant expansion … Read more

Circular Economies and Low Carbon Urban Infrastructure Planning

  • February 2018
  • Podcast
  • Author: Anu Ramaswami

What is the unique role that urban infrastructure planning can play in national carbon mitigation? In this podcast, learn how cities are positioned to plan infrastructure systems using circular economy … Read more

All-city Carbon Emissions: Understanding City Types and Impact

  • February 2018
  • Podcast
  • Author: Anu Ramaswami

It is common practice to consider the carbon emissions of single cities. But what happens when you analyze carbon emissions for all cities in a country using nationally aligned data? … Read more

What Affects Local Government Climate Policy Adoption?

  • November 2017
  • Journal Brief
  • Author: Multiple

Why do local governments in the US voluntarily adopt climate policies or climate protection plans when they could easily “free load” on the climate actions of other jurisdictions? A study … Read more

Policy and Planning Opportunities of Self-Driving Vehicles

  • November 2017
  • Video
  • Author: Frank Douma

The “future” of self-driving vehicles is quickly becoming reality. As these technologies make their way into the vehicles that get us from point A to point B, they are beginning … Read more

Regional Modeling of Shared Autonomous Vehicle Travel Patterns, Preferences and Impacts

  • August 2017
  • Journal Brief
  • Author: Multiple

How does a system of shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs) perform in a metropolitan region when modeled to mimic real-world daily travel behaviors? Will SAVs return sustainability gains for metropolitan regions … Read more

Urban Pressures and Innovations: Sustainability Commitment in the Face of Fragmentation and Inequality

  • April 2017
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Author: Multiple

Deslatte, A., Feiock R. Wassel, K. (2017).  “Urban Pressures and Innovations: Sustainability Commitment in the Face of Fragmentation and Inequality.” Review of Policy Research, 34(5): 700–724. ABSTRACT: Local government innovations occur … Read more

Hotspot Analysis and Strategic Siting of Green Infrastructure to Maximize Ecosystem Service Provision

  • March 2017
  • Journal Brief
  • Author: Sara Meerow and Josh Newell

Ecosystem services are the social and ecological benefits that are provided to humans by the natural environment. Where should cities strategically locate green infrastructure (GI) to address the needs of … Read more

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