Sustainability and methodologies of environmental assessment for cities.
This book chapter discusses the use of appraisal techniques for examining sustainable urban development in developing countries. One way to evaluate sustainability is to devise techniques which promote sustainability and assess the contribution to the sustainability of policies and developments. Cities have an environmental impact on local, regional, and larger areas. Cities must minimize waste generation and optimize use of energy and other resources. Large building projects can deplete resources from distant sources. Resource depletion impacts directly on renewability, substitutability, and exhaustability of resources. The European Union's concept of the "polluter pays" can be applied to strategic environmental assessment (SEA). SEAs include 1) an environmental impact assessment, 2) a cost-benefit analysis, and 3) an environmental audit. In order to assure sustainability in the context of complex interactions between policy, the economy, and the environment, city governments must have alternative policy options; consistency between policy sectors; knowledge about cumulative, indirect, secondary impacts, and unintended consequences; anticipation of adverse environmental impacts; reassessment of issues and impacts at the project level; public and accountable decision making; environmental principles; and priorities and trade-offs. SEA methods are being taught to donor and host government professional staff. A simple chart articulates a policy impact matrix that shows the factors broadly relating to global sustainability, natural resources, and local environmental quality. This chapter describes each of the three components of SEAs. The discussion of attaching money values to environmental effects is further expanded to include hedonic pricing, the travel cost method developed by Clawson (1959), and the contingent valuation method.