The sustainable city is one that promotes environmental benefits and processes, maintains social capital to support equity and inclusive processes of decision making, and ensures economic viability and opportunity for gainful employment (Fig. 1).
|Fig 1. The three realms of sustainability, showing the pairwise overlaps and ideal goal in the center. This version was obtained from the Eagle, Colorado, city website.|
The sustainable city contrasts with realities or visions of the city that have serious limits in terms of social equity and functioning, ecological amenities and services, and economic vitality. City visions illustrating such shortcomings might be those that emphasize single functions or processes, such as industrial cities, squatter cities, tourist cities, or cities focusing on consumption. The possibility of the sustainable city motivates an open, civic, decision making process to improve existing or planned cities (Fig. 2).
|Fig. 2. Screenshot of the City of Baltimore, MD, sustainability plan webpage. The plan identifies cleanliness, pollution prevention, resource conservation, greening, transportation, education, and green economy as goals.|