Overcoming Administrative Silos to Achieve Functional Collective ActionRachel M. Krause and Christopher V. Hawkins
Implementing City Sustainability examines the structures and processes that city governments employ to pursue environmental, social, and economic well-being within their communities. As American cities adopt sustainability objectives, they are faced with the need to overcome fuzzy-boundary, coordination, and collective action challenges to achieve successful implementation.
Sustainability goals often do not fit neatly into traditional city government structures, which tend to be organized around specific functional responsibilities, such as planning, public works, parks and recreation, and community development. The authors advance a theory of Functional Collective Action and apply it to local sustainability to explain how cities can—and in some cases do—organize to successfully administer changes to achieve complex objectives that transcend these organizational separations. Implementing City Sustainability uses a mixed-method research design and original data to provide a national overview of cities’ sustainability arrangements, as well as eight city case studies highlighting different means of organizing to achieve functional collective action.
By focusing not just on what cities are doing to further sustainability, but also on how they are doing it, the authors show how administrative structure enables—or inhibits—cities to overcome functional divides and achieve successful outcomes.
"Implementing City Sustainability absolutely does provide important new information about what goes on under the local sustainability hood. Indeed, where the authors really shine is in their willingness to deepen and broaden the sustainability dialogue, drawing in all aspects of the sustainability triangle and noting that local administrations can see this work as outside of the norm. They discuss the stress sustainability work can create when cities are expected to implement policies for which administrators are unprepared and how the approaches they identify attempt to resolve these tensions. In doing so, they add a touch of realness and humanity to the expectations of local governments."
" Krause and Hawkins devote much-needed attention to the collective-action problems confronting local governments who are trying to take sustainability seriously.... (T)he strength of the book is in the case studies which illustrate the processes for institutionalizing sustainability.... The novelty of the text is derived from the factors the authors identify as affecting functional collective action.... Future research will need to extend the insights from this impressive effort."
—Journal of Urban Affairs
" For advocates of sustainability and for those more generally interested in the effective implementation of governmental policies, this book will be a rewarding read. Summing Up:
"(A) carefully crafted, detailed book on the implementation of city sustainability initiatives.... (T)he primary lesson that Krause and Hawkins offer is an important one."—Political Science Quarterly
"Implementing City Sustainability elucidates how moving to sustainability as a core value in administering a city is complicated.... (T)he main observations the authors make hold true."
—Journal of the American Planning Association