Sustainable Cities and Communities

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Environmental Ethics and Justice for Sustainable Cities

  • Carla D. Aceves-AvilaEmail author
Living reference work entry



Environmental Ethics is concerned with the study of the moral relationship between the human species (Homo sapiens) and the environment, of human responsibility toward nature and its elements, and of the intrinsic value of nature and its nonhuman components (Shrader-Frechette 2015; Brennan and Lo 2016).

Environmental Justice refers mainly to the distribution of environmental equity otherwise put as fair distribution of negative and positive effects (Schlosbergh 2004). It rests on the principle that all people and communities are entitled to equal protection of environmental and public health laws and regulations (Bullard 1996).


Do Sustainable Cities Embed Environmental Justice?

The continuous growth of cities poses enormous challenges as urban sprawls imprint consequences both in the lives of their dwellers and in the lives of the rest of the population that does not live in cities. Constant...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Allen A, Griffin L, Johnson C (2017) Environmental justice and urban resilience in the global south. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. Scholar
  2. Barrett BFD, Horne R, Fien J (2016) The ethical city: a rationale for an urgent new urban agenda. Sustainability 8(11):1–14. Scholar
  3. Brennan A, Lo YS (2016) Environmental ethics. In: Zalta EN (ed) The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. (Winter 2016 ed) Available via Scholar
  4. Bullard RD (1996) Environmental justice: It’s more than waste facility siting. Soc Sci Q 77(3):493–499. Available via Scholar
  5. Chan JKH (2019) Urban ethics in the Anthropocene. The moral dimensions of six emerging conditions in contemporary urbanism. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. Scholar
  6. Flanagan MA (2000) Environmental justice in the City: a theme for urban environmental history. Environ Hist 5(2):159–164. Scholar
  7. Fox W (ed) (2000) Ethics and the built environment. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Gardiner SM, Thompson A (eds) (2015) The Oxford handbook of environmental ethics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  9. Gunn AS (1998) Rethinking communities. Environmental ethics in an urbanized world. Environ Ethics 20(4):341–360. Scholar
  10. Hake JF, Schlör H, Schürmann K, Venghaus S (2016) Ethics, sustainability and the water, energy, food Nexus approach – a new integrated assessment of urban systems. Energy Procedia 88:236–242. Scholar
  11. Haughton G (1999) Environmental justice and the Sustainable City. J Plan Educ Res 18(3):233–243. Scholar
  12. Heynen N, Perkins HA, Roy P (2006) The political ecology of uneven urban green space. The impact of political economy on race and ethnicity in producing environmental inequality in Milwaukee. Urban Aff Rev 42(1):3–25. Scholar
  13. Jamal T, Hales R (2016) Performative justice: new directions in environmental and social justice. Geoforum 76:176–180. (critical review). Scholar
  14. Jenerette GD, Harlan SL, Stefanov WL, Martin CA (2011) Ecosystem services and urban heat riskscape moderation: water, green spaces, and social inequality in Phoenix, USA. Ecol Appl 21(7). Scholar
  15. King RJH (2000) Environmental ethics and the built environment. Environ Ethics 22(2):115–131. Scholar
  16. Light A (2001) The urban blind spot in environmental ethics. Environ Polit 10:7–35. Scholar
  17. Mega VP (2010) Sustainable cities for the third Millennium: the Odyssey of urban excellence. Springer, New York. Scholar
  18. Mitchell G (2011) Environmental justice: an overview. In: Nriagu JO (ed) Encyclopedia of environmental health, pp 449–458. Scholar
  19. Nesbitt L, Meitner MJ, Sheppard SRJ, Girling C (2018) The dimensions of urban green equity: a framework for analysis. Urban For Urban Green 34:240–248. Scholar
  20. Nygren A (2018) Inequality and interconnectivity: urban spaces of justice in Mexico. Geoforum 89:145–154. Scholar
  21. Pojman LP (2001) Environmental ethics. Readings in theory and application. Thomson learning, WadsworthGoogle Scholar
  22. Schlosbergh D (2004) Reconceiving environmental justice: global movements and political theories. Environ Polit 13(3):517–540. Scholar
  23. Schlosbergh D (2007) Defining environmental justice: theories, movements and nature. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schlosbergh D (2013) Theorising environmental justice: the expanding sphere of a discourse. Environ Polit 22(1):37–55. Scholar
  25. Selthi M, de Oliveira JP (2015) From global ‘north–south’ to local ‘urban–rural’: a shifting paradigm in climate governance? Urban Clim 14(4):529–543. Scholar
  26. Sharma-Wallace L (2016) Toward an environmental justice of the rural-urban interface. Geoforum 77:174–177. Scholar
  27. Shrader-Frechette K (2015) Environmental ethics. In: La Follette H (ed) The oxford handbook of practical ethics. Oxford University Press.
  28. Smith KK (2018) Exploring environmental ethics. An introduction. Springer, Cham. Scholar
  29. Stephens C (1996) Healthy cities or unhealthy islands? The health and social implications of urban inequality. Environ Urban 8(2):9–30. Scholar
  30. Stephens C (2012) Urban inequities; urban rights: a conceptual analysis and review of impacts on children, and policies to address them. J Urban Health 89(3). Bulletin of the New York Academy of MedicineCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Taylor N (2012) Built environment, ethics and the. In: Chadwick R (ed) Encyclopedia of applied ethics, 2nd edn. Elsevier, London, pp 345–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. The UN Global Compact – Cities Programme (2016) Ethical cities: locking in liveability. World Vision. RMIT University. Melbourne, 16 Feb 2016. Available via Accessed 20 Sep 2018
  33. UN-Habitat (2016) World Cities Report 2016: urbanization and development – emerging futures. UN-HABITAT. Available via Accessed 20 Sep 2018
  34. Vanderheiden S (2016) Environmental and climate justice. In: Gabrielson T, Hall C, Meyer JM, Schlosberg D (eds) The Oxford handbook of environmental political theory. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  35. Wolch JR, Byrne J, Newell JP (2014) Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: the challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’. Landsc Urban Plan 125:234–244. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Center of Economic and Management SciencesUniversity of GuadalajaraGuadalajaraMexico

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hari Srinivas
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Policy StudiesKwansei Gakuin UniversityKobeJapan