By Josef Leitmann, Urban Management Program

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Extra info for Rapid urban environmental assessment: lessons from cities in the developing world, Volume 2

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Economic structure shapes environmental problems. The structure and location of economic activities in and around cities affect the prevalence and severity of particular environmental problems. The important economic variables that appear to influence environmental problems are: spatial patterns of industrial location and impacts on health; the effectiveness of industrial pollution control; energy use and industrial structure; and the size and nature of the informal sector. The level of urban wealth is linked to certain environmental problems.

In addition, the work sought to identify generalizable constraints and analytical approaches to problems, outline approaches for setting relative priorities amongst urban environmental problems, and indicate options that could form part of environmental management strategies. 5 As a methodology, rapid urban environmental assessment draws its inspiration from rapid rural appraisal and participatory rural appraisal. 6 A three-step process was developed to enable local (city-based) experts and citizens to assess rapidly the state of the urban environment.

The third issue is a problem for cross-urban analysis but not for environmental problem solving in a single city. Page 3 viii. Some topics that would constitute fruitful areas for future research include: gathering data on low-income communities; linking health effects with environmental conditions; valuing the economic costs and benefits of urban environmental activities; using alternative methods to assess public priorities; matching jurisdictions with ecological boundaries; and comparing policy instruments for environmental management.

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