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Developing Green Cities: Explaining Variation in Canadian Green Building Policies

  • Elizabeth Schwartz (a1)

Abstract

Buildings produce a large proportion of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and municipalities control a number of policy levers that can help to reduce those emissions. This article explains variation among Canadian cities regarding policies adopted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a particular focus on green building standards. By applying insights from the study of the politics of public policy to urban politics, this article finds that while electoral disincentives prevent most cities from enacting high impact green building policies, the success of some cities can be attributed to the influence of independent municipal environment departments. These departments facilitate policy learning by providing information and resources. The findings suggest that policy makers could improve the effectiveness of local climate change policy by creating municipal environment departments that have organizational capacity—funding, staff, and a cross-cutting mandate—and are insulated from interference from politicians and line departments.

Les édifices produisent une forte proportion des émissions de gaz à effet de serre du Canada et les municipalités contrôlent un certain nombre de leviers politiques susceptibles d'aider à réduire ces émissions. Cet article explique les variations entre les villes canadiennes au regard des politiques adoptées pour réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre, avec un accent particulier sur les normes de construction écologique. En transposant les enseignements issus des études portant sur la politique des mesures d'intérêt public à la politique urbaine, cet article constate que même si des facteurs dissuasifs d'ordre électoral empêchent la plupart des villes de mettre en place des politiques de construction écologique à impact élevé, le succès de certaines villes peut être attribué à l'influence de services de l'environnement municipaux indépendants. Ces services facilitent l'apprentissage des politiques en fournissant de l'information et des ressources. Les constatations suggèrent que les décisionnaires pourraient améliorer l'efficacité des politiques locales en matière de changement climatique en créant des services de l'environnement municipaux dotés de la capacité organisationnelle–budget, effectifs et mandat transversal–et soustraits de toute ingérence des politiciens et des services hiérarchiques.

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Developing Green Cities: Explaining Variation in Canadian Green Building Policies

  • Elizabeth Schwartz (a1)

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