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Abstract

This article argues that the internationalization of cities and the localization of sustainable development have combined to turn cities into the international loci of sustainable development. The author contends that while it is positive that cities are willing to engage in addressing sustainable development and climate change, there are dangers in allowing cities to take on the primary function of defining sustainable development. Problems caused by privatization of city services and the tendency of cities to consider local interests primary in engaging in the trade-offs required by sustainable development are discussed. Finally, the author concludes that sustainable development requires a multi-level definition and that the choice not be between decentralized, autonomous cities and a powerful state excluding city power, but rather a state that provides generous space for the exercise of local autonomy.

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