Date of Award

Spring 4-20-2018

Semester of Degree


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Environmental Science


Environmental Science, Division of

Major Professor

Douglas Johnston

Steering Committee Member

Lemir Teron

Steering Committee Member

Emanuel Carter Jr.


Urban sustainable development is broadly supported and yet still not achieved, despite more than two decades of attention and advocacy. The City of San Francisco in collaboration with one important international body, the United Nations Environment Programme, has articulated an initiative meant to stimulate sustainable development, called the Urban Environmental Accords (UEA). This thesis explores the UEA’s uptake within New York State, and the ways in which the UEA serves to influence action. My research methods consisted of key informant interviews, questionnaires, and analysis of municipal comprehensive plans. One finding is that varied approaches were used to by case study municipalities to adopt the best practices, and these include: the implementation of goals, policy instruments, factors contributing to and impeding progress, identifying and discussing transferability, and strategies for advancing progress of policy approval and implementation. The research revealed that unique social, political and economic factors played a crucial role in the adoption of the best practices in each of the case studies. This information provides further knowledge to be utilized by municipalities for better creation, adoption, and implementation of sustainable development principles.