Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Geography and Environmental Resources


Dr. Leslie A. Duram


Cities are vulnerable to climate change, but they are also uniquely positioned to lead the way in both mitigating and adapting to it. While there is no single solution to climate change, cities have a responsibility to transition toward a more sustainable future. This paper examines current literature in climate change and sustainability in urban areas through a discussion of the urban heat island effect, human health, natural hazards, urbanization trends, socioeconomic factors, urban energy, water and wastewater, public transportation, waste management, green infrastructure and governance. The paper has three key goals: (1) to examine how climate change is affecting urban areas; (2) to assess how cities can enhance urban sustainability by addressing climate change; (3) to discuss resources available for city leaders wanting to transition to a sustainable city. These objectives are addressed using a literature review and includes examples of current sustainable initiatives in cities. The paper concludes with a discussion of limitations, recommendations, and future research in sustainable cities.