Collectively, cities take up a relatively tiny amount of land on the earth, yet emit 72 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Clearly, cities need to be at the center of any broad effort to reduce climate change.
In Greenovation, the eminent urban policy scholar Joan Fitzgerald argues that too many cities are only implementing random acts of greenness that will do little to address the climate crisis. She instead calls for “greenovation”–using the city as a test bed for adopting and perfecting green technologies for more energy–efficient buildings, transportation, and infrastructure more broadly. Further, Fitzgerald contends that while many city mayors cite income inequality as a pressing problem, few cities are connecting climate action and social justice-another aspect of greenovation. Focusing on the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in cities, buildings, energy and transportation, Fitzgerald examines how greenovating cities are reducing emissions overall and lays out an agenda for fostering and implementing urban innovations that can help reverse the path toward irrevocable climate damage. Drawing on interviews with practitioners in more than 20 North American and European cities, she identifies the strategies and policies they are employing and how support from state, provincial and national governments has supported or thwarted their efforts.
A uniquely urban-focused appraisal of the economic, political, and social debates that underpin the drive to “go green,” Greenovation helps us understand what is arguably the toughest policy problem of our era: the increasing impact of anthropocentric climate change on modern social life.
“Given the failure of nations to engage the climate crisis at the speed that physics demands, we’re going to need to rely on city governments for a lot of heavy lifting. Joan Fitzgerald shows precisely how to harvest beyond the low-hanging fruit: this is a smart book, filled with enough detail to help any planner, and enough vision to inspire any citizen.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? and founder of 350.org
“The first sentence of the first chapter of this powerful and necessary book immediately establishes the stakes: ‘Cities cover about 3 percent of the land on Earth, yet they produce about 72 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.’ These two data points send a strong message to all urban citizens and the mayors who govern over them: implementing the transformative changes necessary for mitigating climate change should begin with us, the residents of cities. Joan Fitzgerald explains to readers where the potential for green policy innovation lies, and how cities across the world have been putting successful policies in place.”
—Allan Larsson, former Swedish Social Democratic politician and Minister for Finance
“Greenovation is the definitive account of the paramount role cities must play in the shift to a sustainable economy. Fitzgerald both describes what leading cities are doing to reduce their emissions, particularly in buildings and transportation, and lays out an agenda for what lagging cities need to do-all the while keeping in mind how national governments need to support the urban climate agenda.”
—Sadhu Aufochs Johnston, City Manager of Vancouver
“With this meticulously researched and highly readable book, Joan Fitzgerald challenges us to take bolder action on climate justice. It is time to move beyond tokenism to real greenovation that scales up energy efficiency, renewable energy, electric transportation, active mobility, and more. Based on inspirational cases from around the world, Greenovation provides the institutional roadmap that will transform our cities, and thus the planet.”
—Karen Chapple, Professor and Chair of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley
“How do North American and European cities lead by “greenovating”in fast, nimble, and effective ways? In this thoroughly researched and argued book, Fitzgerald issues a clarion call for integrative political action on the linked problems of urban climate change and inequality to create a thriving and more equitable economy.”
—Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Tufts University