Green Cities

Project title:Green Cities – Economic Analysis

Project duration: 2016-2019

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Rainald Borck

Cooperation partners: Prof. Dr. Michael Pflüger (University of Würzburg)

Short Description

The world is rapidly urbanizing. Just between 1990 and today, urbanization has increased from 37,6 % to over 50 %. Cities are thought to be engines of growth and sources of structural change. They have recently been dubbed the greatest invention of humanity by Glaeser (2011). But what does this "Triumph of the City" imply for our natural environment? In the face of global warming, the analysis of the effects of urbanization on the environment is of central sociopolitical relevance and one of the most pressing research questions in urban economics. Central questions are: Which factors are prone to decouple natural resource use and pollution from growing per capital incomes? What are the roles of markets and scarcity prices? Is this decoupling possible at all without policy intervention? What are appropriate economic policies in this framework? What is the nature of sustainable, green cities and city systems? Should we further increase the densitiy of our cities and build more skyscrapers? Will some cities thrive to become "green" service cities while others end up as industrial "pollution havens"?

The project should make a substantive contribution to the understanding of the key factors and processes which lead to the development of sustainable, green cities and city systems. We aim to develop a theoretical framework to analyze the market processes driving the interaction of urbanization and pollution, and which can be used to analyze potential environmental policies as well as the interaction of environmental and urban and regional policies.