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Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2077-2097; doi:10.3390/su5052077
Article

Sustainability and Interest Group Participation in City Politics

*  and
Department of Political Science, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 28 April 2013 / Accepted: 30 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
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Abstract

Many cities across the United States have embraced programs aimed at achieving greater sustainability. This may seem surprising, particularly since adopting aggressive environmental protection programs is regarded by some as inimical to economic development. An alternative perspective is that in the modern city sustainability can be part of an economic development strategy. What is largely missing from the literature on sustainable cities’ policies and programs is systematic analysis of the political dynamics that seem to affect support for, and adoption and implementation of, local sustainability policies. To explore the actual behavior of cities with respect to sustainability and economic development policies, two original databases on 50 large U.S. cities are used. One source of data is composed of survey responses from city councilors, agency administrators, and leaders of local advocacy groups in each of these cities. The second database contains information as to what these 50 cities actually do in terms of sustainable programs and policies. In testing a series of hypotheses, findings suggest that: a high number of programs aimed at achieving sustainability is linked to the inclusion of environmental advocacy groups; that this relationship is not compromised by business advocacy; and that inclusion of environmental groups in policymaking seems to be supported, rather than impeded, by high rates of economic growth by the cities.
Keywords: sustainable cities; urban sustainability; interest groups; citizen groups; business groups sustainable cities; urban sustainability; interest groups; citizen groups; business groups
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Berry, J.M.; Portney, K.E. Sustainability and Interest Group Participation in City Politics. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2077-2097.

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