Implementing City Sustainability: Overcoming Administrative Silos to Achieve Functional Collective Action
Implementing City Sustainability examines the structures and processes that city governments employ to pursue environmental, social, and economic well-being within their communities. As American cities adopt sustainability objectives, they are faced with the need to overcome fuzzy-boundary, coordination, and collective action challenges to achieve successful implementation.
Sustainability goals often do not fit neatly into traditional city government structures, which tend to be organized around specific functional responsibilities, such as planning, public works, parks and recreation, and community development. The authors advance a theory of Functional Collective Action and apply it to local sustainability to explain how cities can—and in some cases do—organize to successfully administer changes to achieve complex objectives that transcend these organizational separations. Implementing City Sustainability uses a mixed-method research design and original data to provide a national overview of cities’ sustainability arrangements, as well as eight city case studies highlighting different means of organizing to achieve functional collective action.
By focusing not just on what cities are doing to further sustainability, but also on how they are doing it, the authors show how administrative structure enables—or inhibits—cities to overcome functional divides and achieve successful outcomes.