Sustainable Cities: Canadian Reality or Urban Myth?

Christopher Stoney, Robert Hilton


Although it is now over two decades since the Brundtland Commission report (1987) put sustainable development on the political map, concern continues in Canada that the federal government is failing to adequately implement its own commitments to tackling the ecological challenges posed by rapid urban expansion. Our analysis identifies a number of road blocks, missed opportunities and mistakes that have limited progress and many of these are traced back to the failure of national government to empower local municipal governments, as advocated by Brundtland and subsequent international initiatives, in particular ‘Agenda 21’ which we revisit in some detail as a basis for analysis. As well as reviewing the federal government’s role in Canada, the paper explores the potential for more sustainable urban growth in the context of broader reforms.

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