Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D.

Keywords

Development, Communities, Urban, Environment, Standards

Abstract

Sustainable development is increasingly being integrated within local government planning across United States. Many communities are attempting to translate this general principle into specific and measurable terms. The urban sustainability planning literature has mostly focused on descriptive case studies of pioneering cities that have been characterized as true innovators in their sustainability efforts. Noticeably absent from the literature, however, has been an examination of the sustainable development claims made by local governments undergoing 'green' certifications. This study evaluates the commitment and efforts of municipalities and counties of Florida within the framework of Florida Green Building Coalition's 'Green Local Government' standard through a web-based content analysis and a mailed survey. The findings indicate that local governments that have adopted this standard demonstrate a fairly high level of commitment to sustainable development. However, the adoption of specific local initiatives towards achieving this designation was found to be ad hoc and piecemeal. The findings also indicate that although some local governments have created novel incentive programs to promote green buildings, administrative, monetary and other barriers are preventing the growth of green building practice. Finally, the societal and economic aspects of sustainability were found to be insufficiently addressed in the local government initiatives as well as in the certification requirements.

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