Season 1 Episode #7: On Urban Sustainability and Economic

Listen to Episode #7: On Urban Sustainability and Economic

#urban #public #problems #sustainability #economic #development #us

Dr. Kent E. Portney is a professor at the Bush School’s Department of Public Service and Administration. He was appointed a director of the Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy in September 2016 after serving two years as a Senior Fellow in the Institute. He was on the Tufts University faculty since 1979 and served as department chair in political science and directed the Graduate Program in Public Policy and Citizen Participation. Most recently, he was director of the Water and Research Program at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Florida State University, his master’s from the University of Connecticut, and his bachelor’s from Rutgers University, where his studies focused on public administration and public policy. Dr. Portney’s areas of expertise include environmental policy, urban sustainability, urban politics, economic inequality, and policy analysis. He has authored or co-authored nine books on such topics as economic and environmental development, citizen participation, and teaching critical reasoning in the social sciences; and he has written numerous journal articles on urban sustainability, urban politics, and the local nonprofit sector.

Are sustainability and economic development at odds with each other? Does pushing for economic development mean sacrificing the environment and vice versa? In this conversation, Dr. Portney explains the idea behind sustainable cities and what he understands as the combination of economic development with environmental protection and ensuring equity in service delivery by cities. In Dr. Portney’s view, the relationship between economic development and sustainability is not a dichotomous one. There are more shades in between, and the trade-off between the two is not a given. In fact, economic development cannot endure long-term if pollution and environmental problems are not addressed. What then should cities do to develop economically while concomitantly protecting the environment?


Portney, K. E. (2003). Taking sustainable cities seriously: Economic development, the environment, and quality of life in American cities (Vol. 67). MIT Press.

Portney, K. E. (2013). Local sustainability policies and programs as economic development: Is the new economic development sustainable development?. Cityscape, 45-62.

To read more on Dr. Portney’s book Sustainability follow the link here:

Berry, J. M., Portney, K. E., & Thomson, K. (2002). The rebirth of urban democracy. Brookings Institution Press.

To see the full list of books and articles published by Dr. Portney follow the link here:…f584AAAAJ&hl=en

Check out Dr. Portney’s website titled Our Green Cities in the following link here:

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