Policy & Governance


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.


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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