ABSTRACT

Economic development and environmental protection are often viewed as competing interests that require significant tradeoffs (Campbell, 1996). However, as “sustainability” and “sustainable development” become common parts of modern academic and policy discussions, many American cities are attempting to reconcile these competing interests through public policies and local initiatives. Even with the increasing recognition of the terms sustainability and sustainable development, a great deal of misunderstanding still exists. For many people, sustainability is simply another word for environmental policy or environmental protection. For others, sustainability and economic development cannot be pursued simultaneously and be successful. For American cities to engage in economic development while remaining environmentally conscious, local administrators, policymakers, and public administration students must more fully understand the intersection and common ground of economic development and the natural environment.