Moving Towards Sustainable Cities: An assessment of Dutch local authorities’ strategic approach to achieving comprehensive sustainability in urban development.
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There is increasing interest in the academic literature regarding municipal level action for sustainable development and to address climate change. While the more comprehensive approach of Local Agenda 21 (LA21) received most of the attention during the 1990s, implementation of LA21 is not consistently addressed across nations. In the meantime, local climate policy has gained much attention during the 2000s, enabled by national Kyoto reduction targets and transnational networks. This evolution brings a trend away from comprehensive sustainability initiatives towards energy-focused and sector-based initiatives focusing on reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. This research seeks to investigate to what extent comprehensive sustainability is being approached at the municipal level in the Netherlands and how those ambitions carry over to urban development projects. Amsterdam and Tilburg are identified as front-running cities and the projects of Zuidas (Amsterdam), Buiksloterham (Amsterdam), and Spoorzone (Tilburg) are analyzed to understand what modes of governing are used by the municipality to meet their municipal sustainability ambitions.