Wrapping Up!

What an intense and productive week.  I want to thank you all again for being part of Keystone Cities.  Despite being a small group, I thought the level of our discussions was excellent. It's not everyday that you get such an eclectic mix of disciplines and backgrounds - not to mention a few SPURS scholars and Humphrey fellows thrown in to the mix.

Overall, it was interesting to see that the research we did together showed shifts towards networked climate governance in the handful of cities we examined.  Portland, Vancouver, Boston, and Chicago all showed significant shifts in the way they were pursuing their climate and sustainability policies. 

Each city had its own unique characteristic. But overall we saw trends towards:
  •  greater inclusion of non-municipal actors in planning and implementation, 
  • an increased focus on the co-benefits that arrise from climate change initiatives,
  • and increased levels of coordination across different municipal departments to achieve climate and sustainability goals. 
In some but not all cases we also saw a move away from specifically climate focused plans to broader integrated sustainability plans that touched on a variety of environmental issues, while tying them back to associated social and economic goals. 

Whether this shift will lead to more ambitious objectives and more effective implementation remains to be seen.  It's also not clear if this emerging more holistic approach to climate policy will shift the larger accepted discourse and methodology that currently guides urban approaches to climate change. But those questions will be interesting targets for future research.

It was great working with all of you this week.  Best of luck with the start of the new semester and don't hesitate to contact me if you want to follow-up on any of the ideas we covered.


  1. Great job! ; ) Was very helpful to understand about north American urban sustainability policies. Learned many things, thank you very much!

  2. Thanks Bayarmaa -- it was a real pleasure to have you in the group! Don't hesitate to keep in touch.