The Sustainable City

Lead PI: Dr. Steven Cohen , Alison C. Miller, Hayley Martinez

Unit Affiliation: Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management (SPM)

November 2017 - Ongoing
Global ; New York City, NY ; New York
Project Type: Research Outreach

DESCRIPTION: In The Sustainable City, Steven Cohen provides a broad and engaging overview of the urban systems of the twenty-first century, surveying policies and projects already under way in cities around the world and pointing to more ways progress can be made. Cohen discusses the sustainable city from an organizational-management and public-policy perspective that emphasizes the local level, looking at case studies of existing legislation, programs, and public-private partnerships that strive to align modern urban life and sustainability. From waste management in Beijing to energy infrastructure in Africa to public space in Washington, D.C., there are concrete examples of what we can do right now. Cohen synthesizes the disparate strands of sustainable city planning in an approachable and applicable guide that highlights how these issues touch our lives on a daily basis, whether the transportation we take, where our energy comes from, or what becomes of our food waste. Providing recommendations and insights with immediacy and relevance, this book has invaluable lessons for anyone seeking to link public policy to promoting a sustainable lifestyle.


Kelsie DeFrancia, Alix Schroder, Hilary Osborn, Catalina Villegas


Columbia University Press



book public policy organizational management renewable energy sustainability urban waste management energy cities public private partnerships (ppp)


Sustainable living



Jun 03, 2024

Finding Public Space in a Crowded New York City

In a world where over 70% of humanity will become urban dwellers by 2050, the creative use of land for rest, recreation and community-gathering is essential.

May 28, 2024

From Sustainability Mirage to Sustainability Management

Sustainability management is a more sophisticated form of management built to accommodate the environmental, social, economic, and technological conditions of the modern economy.

May 20, 2024

Scope 3 Carbon Emissions and the Management of Supply Chains

Measuring an organization’s impact on its environment is becoming a routine part of competent and effective organizational management. Extending that measurement process into the supply chain is part of current best management practices.

May 13, 2024

The Impact of Stalling the SEC Climate Disclosure Rule

Opposition to mandatory climate risk reporting is the result of the failure of some American businesses and lobbying groups to understand that reducing and reporting on environmental risk is an indication of management competence having nothing to do with ideology.

May 06, 2024

Questioning Mayor Adams’ Commitment to Protecting NYC’s Environment

Mayor Adams is a superb advocate for environmental quality and environmental justice, but the city government he runs doesn’t always seem to follow through: New York City’s water infrastructure, decarbonization, and parks need additional staffing and funding if the promises made are to be fulfilled.

Apr 29, 2024

Congestion Pricing is Nearly Here

It is indeed ironic that Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Republican Representative Nicole Malliotakis from Staten Island, and Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey all share intense opposition to congestion pricing south of 60th street in Manhattan.

Apr 22, 2024

Environmental Sustainability and Consumption

The best way to achieve environmental sustainability is to develop a circular economy with services and products that have the least possible impact on the environment. Attacking consumption is futile and a waste of effort.

Apr 15, 2024

Regulating Air Toxics from Petrochemical Plants

We need to end performative and ideological regulatory debates and strive for effective regulation that protects the public while encouraging innovation.

Apr 08, 2024

Garbage, Product Design, and the Circular Economy

The key to building the circular economy is not consumer guilt or changed behavior but new business models and technologies that enable the economy to transform waste into a resource.

Apr 01, 2024

Electric Vehicle Adoption Requires More Effective Public and Private Management

Regulation can help accelerate the adoption of EVs, but more effective public and private management is needed to build better EVs and ensure that charging them is easy and convenient.