In recent decades it has become clear that increasingly accelerated urbanization globally, coupled with increased consumption of natural resources and pollution dramatically alter the ecological context in which cities are struggling to provide long-term social, economic and environmental sustainability. Given that urban areas are densely populated and are among the most polluted ecological environments, it can be concluded that the highest percentage of diseases caused by environmental hazards are in urban areas. Among the biggest challenges in urban areas is the public health, which is one of the most important demographic and social parameters. Urban population, despite facing increasingly great social and economic inequality, confronts also daily exposure to health hazards becoming a victim of significantly worsened living conditions that directly affect its health, mortality and productivity. Urbanization is often accompanied by increased air pollution, which causes significant mortality rate due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The consequences of these diseases are particularly existent among disadvantaged groups, economically weak countries, and developing countries. Almost 80% of the current deaths due to these diseases occur in low and middle-income countries, or where environmental regulation is weak or non-existent .
The implementation of national and local policies for urban sustainable development in order to create sustainable cities becomes a priority in the world as a whole. The international community is more often emphasizing that dealing with the issues of environmental sustainability should not be happening exclusively at the international level, on the contrary, these political decisions should be practiced and implemented at the local level. Since the local municipalities are increasingly taking the role of self-governing bodies, they are able to implement the approaches and strategies to reduce polluting emissions. However, there is an indisputable need of cooperation among different levels of governments as well as with the other relevant stakeholders. The implementation of policies leading to urban sustainable development, among other, referrers to the regulation of the relationship between government, private and civil sector as well as to the appropriate allocation of government funding and subsidies.
Although research on urban sustainable development has made significant advances in the last years, key knowledge gaps remain for improving governance for urban sustainability and resilience. Government policy often supports non-sustainable behavior or addresses problems of sustainability in inconsistent ways. . Visions of sustainability are rarely used as a compass for policy by governments, and “sustainability-oriented policy remains an ideal to which policy makers are committed only in words” .
This paper seeks to consider the challenges the cities, particularly in developing countries, face with regards...