Strategic Directions in European Sustainable City Management

Strategic Directions in European Sustainable City Management

Nemanja Backović (University of Belgrade, Serbia), Vesna Milićević (University of Belgrade, Serbia) and Adam Sofronijevic (University of Belgrade, Serbia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0440-5.ch008
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Initiatives for development of sustainable cities require complex and long term managerial approach in order to succeed. Strategic approach to this challenge is of special interest in European environment where certain cultural and economic features create specific framework for long term development of sustainable cities. This chapter presents and analyzes several strategic directions important for management of sustainable cities in Europe. Based on in-depth literary review and Internet research, culture diversity, innovativeness and flexibility of sustainable city economy and civic initiatives integrated in urban growth are pinpointed as major strategic influencers on sustainable city growth in Europe.
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Cities have been the drivers of progress and hallmarks for advancement of human condition since the beginning of history. By defining a city as a dwelling area in which significant number of people do not produce food, but acquire it from someone else (Kagan, 2007) and relating societies generating cities to the existence of civilization as opposed to pre-civilized societies where only agricultural villages existed, one can best comprehend the importance of cities in history of humanity and its development spanning the range of tools from stone to the digital ones and community relations from slavery to welfare state, but always connected to the concept of a city. The physical enlargement of cities and growing complexity of human activities related to them, both always generated by a prosperous city community, determine the need for constant change of a city concept, upgrading of its infrastructures and changing relations among citizens.

Multi-layered global transformation of urban development has economic and institutional impact on city growth. Influence interaction has an extensive significance for inner-city processes, modifying them to a degree by which uncontrolled global market forces have a considerable role in policy formulation. Contemporary transnational urban context and its features readjust economic activities by creating a new spatial order of profound challenges. They are observed via dual sustainability paradox of both global city competition and environmental sustainability pressures (Hu, 2015). Urbanization often produces a wide range of social disparities, that need a direct mechanism to absorb and redress such underlying threats. In order to overcome these issues, centralized economy concept should be successively replaced by multiple growth dimensions. This implicates that adaptation of the economic bases cannot be the only factor to effectively develop progressive institutional and strategic urban changes. Consequently, in order to accelerate rapid growth and economic viability of modern cities, decentralized planning, reduction of government intervention in internal markets and the expansion of cross-border transactions must be implemented (Lee, 2000). According to UN post-2015 development Agenda, inclusive growth consists out of three pillars: good governance and institutions, social safety nets and high, sufficient, sustained growth (UN, 2015). Numerous summative indicators in post 2015 development Agenda reflect whole sectors outcomes, disaggregated in several dimensions so they could avoid the maze of complexity. For example, social integration and relational planning pattern redevelop global city competitiveness in a long term, incorporating well-being with new performance measures. Post-national government micro regulation movements tend to foster local sustainability, as one of the core elements for new strategic framework.

Second machine age as defined in (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014) highlights the importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) in general economy and defines the nature of its influence on the changing markets and across almost all industries, where influence of machine workforce in intellectual jobs is growing, creating new possibilities for human employees, but also making some of the skills and professions obsolete. This trend in conjunction with other dynamic changes in society and economy create a broad framework for city growth and development in 21st century. Dynamics of changes, imperative of economic growth and social prosperity place cities, more than ever, in focus of idea exchanges among scholars, but also politicians, entrepreneurs and general public.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Smart City: Should be regarded as system of intensive, upgraded interactions between self-decisive residents that use natural resources and provide services in order to finance and enforce sustainable economic development and overall quality of life; these interactions become enhanced by making strategic use of traditional and modern information and communication technology and services in a progress of wise governance and urban planning management that address society needs.

Green Economy: An economy that consists out of accelerated public and private investments with zero carbon emissions and air pollution reduction goals, growth in employment and income, renewable energy and resource efficiency enhancement with biodiversity and ecosystem elements preservation. Natural capital is obtained through targeted public expenditure, regulative policy reforms and regulated micro interventions. Crucial economic assets and sources of public interest are natural capital and social equality, in accordance with long-term human ecological footprint.

Sustainable City: A city where development of vital urban growth functions in social, economic and physical fields is created to last for future generations of urban dwellers. A sustainable city is also described as an urban centre where shared responsibility is essential for advanced social and economic partnerships. Key sustainable elements are expressed through the learning process and innovative educational networks, alongside cross-disciplinary business cooperation. It also enhances contemporary institutional and organising responses, excluding conventional government interventions.

Strategic Decisions: Decisions concerned with the external environment in which organization operates, and with the resources, representing major choices of actions that influence the whole organization. They are complex and growth oriented. Strategic decisions are those which affect the long term performance. They are usually taken at the highest levels of management.

City: A permanently inhabited area where a significant number of people living in it do not produce food. As a human settlement, the city consists out of complex systems that are driving forces for urban growth.

Eco-Efficiency: A concept based on the principles of the use of high efficiency production methods and technology, the use of less energy and natural resources for the same amount of production and the more advanced waste management system. As a concept and strategy approach it also enables efficient use of productive capacity sources alongside with preservation of equality in terms of environmental economy. Integrative and pro-active concepts of eco-efficiency have an extensive impact on environment composing a wide range of economic and social benefits.

Cultural Diversity: A term that reflects diverse cultural patterns across time and space. As a source of cultural exchange, social inclusion, morality and creativity, cultural diversity is necessary for humankind evolution. In this sense, it should be appreciated and regarded as the common heritage of humanity and beneficial multicultural tool for present and future generations.

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