by S Hughes, S Pincetl, C Boone
Throughout the last three decades, the city of Los Angles has substantially improved its approach to water management and service delivery. Per capita water consumption has declined, and the amount of water imported has largely remained even. In light of these successes, the authors examine the city’s transition to more sustainable water use and the drivers of this change. Researchers interviewed decision makers, policy makers, NGOs, and academics to gain insight into the types of structural changes to water management, the external motivators of these changes, and the barriers the city is currently still facing. Following the interviews, researchers were able to conclude that the changes were primarily due to a combination of regulatory, political, and environmental exposures. These include rulings under the Endangered Species Act (regulatory), the election and appointment of more environmentally oriented officials (political), and climate change (environmental). The authors also discussed financial, political, and instructional barriers preventing Los Angeles from completing its urban transition. The study’s findings contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms that encourage positive urban change and assist cities in their transformations to becoming more sustainable.