Editors' Note

Author:Melissa Blue Sky - Paulo A. Lopes
For the first time in history, more than half the world’s nearly
seven billion people live in cities.1 The growth of cities and
the numbers of people living in them pose significant chal-
lenges to both the environment and humans. Problems presented by
the urban environment for city dwellers, as well as the populous as
a whole, include traffic congestion that leads to smog and respira-
tory problems, lack of water supply and wastewater treatment that
contaminates the water supply and causes waterborne diseases,
and increasing energy use that depletes resources and contributes
to climate change. Although urban environmental and develop-
ment problems are numerous and varied, urban growth can present
opportunities for improving global sustainability. Commuting via
public transport or cycling produces far fewer emissions than indi-
vidual motorized travel and apartment buildings generally impact
far less land than suburban or rural housing for the same numbers
of people. A growing awareness of the need to make cities more
sustainable has led to a wide range of initiatives on energy efficient
building, urban planning for mixed use city centers, and maintaining
urban greenspace. Cities are also leading the way on climate change
mitigation and adaptation in the absence of a global agreement.2
Articles in this issue on S ustainable Developme nt in the
Urban Environment tackle some of the key problems and oppor-
tunities for cities. Many articles indirectly address the climate
change impacts of increasing urban resource consumption, and
one proposes a mitigation effort based on increasing reflectivity in
cities. A number of authors address resource issues, from reducing
waste to modernizing the electrical grid to Brownfields. Transpor-
tation is, of course, an essential element of transitioning to sus-
tainable cities and authors consider the possibilities for expanded
use of trains, challenges related to a car congestion tax, and car-
free cities. The relationship between urban migration and remit-
tances to rural areas is examined and alternatives to rights-based
approaches to informal urban settlements in developing countries
are presented. Two articles consider the key role of forests, both
urban and rural, for maintaining healthy cities and minimizing
effects of natural disasters. Other articles propose expanded roles
for youth and public health considerations in urban planning.
With the myriad concerns presented by urban growth and
its impact on global sustainab ility, we hope that the articles in
this issue of Sustainable Development Law & Policy contribute
to the wider debate on the role of cities in the green ec onomy
and the work to make progress on addressing climate change.
Melissa Blue Sky Paulo A. Lopes
eDitor-in-chieF eDitor-in-chieF
eDitorS’ note
11 | traFFic Jam equality: evaluating the
conStitutionality oF congeStion pricing
by Christopher Hudock
17 | urban Development: a viable option aFter
rio 2012?
by Andrea Martinez
18 | time-oF-uSe pricing coulD help china
manage DemanD
by Emmett Pepper
27 | Stimulating the Future oF SuperFunD: why
the american recovery anD reinveStment act
callS For a reinStatement oF the SuperFunD
taX to polluteD SiteS in urban environmentS
by Braunson Virjee
39 | cultivating urban ForeStS policieS in
Developing countrieS
by Janet A. Choi
46 | a Failure oF conScience: how paKiStan'S
DevaStating FlooDS compare to america'S
eXperience During Katrina
by Oded Cedar
50 | mobile phoneS: reShaping the Flow oF
urban-to-rural remittanceS
by Bethany Brown
58 | legiSlative upDate—new Frontier
in urban greenhouSe gaS emiSSionS
regulation: overview oF caliFornia'S
Senate bill 375
by Kira Hettinger
1 U.N. Population Fund, State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the Poten-
tial of Urban Growth, U.N. Doc. E/31,000/2007, U.N. Sales No. E.07.III.H.1, at
1 (2007), http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2007/presskit/pdf/sowp2007_eng.pdf.
2 See Cynthia Rosenzweig et al., Cities Lead the Way in Climate-Change Action,
467 nature 909 (2010).