Steering the Implementation of Urban Sustainability Projects: Implications for Policy

  • Giacomo Di FOGGIA University of Milano-Bicocca


Air pollution and traffic congestion concerns many cities around the world, no exception for Europe where almost a third of urban citizens must cope with worrying levels of air pollution that exceed some of the European air quality standards. Urban deliveries generally contribute to problems such as pollution, noise, congestion and unsafe environments within cities. Conversely, if distribution vehicles would be used more efficiently, it should theoretically be possible to reduce the amount of vehicles in city centers. To make this to happen new solutions aimed at tackling long-standing ecological crises with rather innovative approach are required. Although with positive environmental and socio-economic impacts, many projects struggle when it comes to define a long-term plan for the development. In most cases, in fact, they cannot be self-financing because of economics of scale or scope.

This paper proposes a framework aimed at providing policy recommendations when it comes to the development of sustainability projects in urban areas focusing of environmentally friendly vehicles. The paper outlines a number of available policy tools to tackle the organizational, technological economic difficulties. This is done taking into consideration the infrastructure required, the enabling technology and the governance in an effort to provide suggestions to set viable business model.


[1] Al-Saleh, Y. and Mahroum, S. (2014). A critical review of the interplay between policy instruments and business models: greening the built environment a case in point. Journal of Cleaner Production, 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.08.042
[2] Anand, N., Quak, H., van Duin, R. and Tavasszy, L. (2012). City Logistics Modeling Efforts: Trends and Gaps - A Review. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 39: 101–115. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.03.094
[3] Arnold, M. and Barth, V. (2011). Open innovation in urban energy systems. Energy Efficiency, 5(3): 351–364. doi:10.1007/s12053-011-9142-6
[4] Arrigo, U. and Di Foggia, G. (2015). The scope of public organisations with productive functions: insights from the inefficiency of Italian local public transport. European Journal of Government and Economics, 4(2): 134–154.
[5] Arrow, K. J. and Lind, R. C. (2014). Uncertainty and the evaluation of public investment decisions. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 6(1): 29–44. doi:10.1080/19390459.2014.867640
[6] Baden-Fuller, C. and Haefliger, S. (2013). Business Models and Technological Innovation. Long Range Planning, 46: 419–426. doi:10.1016/j.lrp.2013.08.023
[7] Baldwin, R., Cave, M. and Lodge, M. (2011). Understanding regulation: theory, strategy, and practice. 2nd Edition, Oxford (UK): Oxford University Press.
[8] Bocken, N.M.P., Short, S.W., Rana, P. and Evans, S. (2014). A literature and practice review to develop sustainable business model archetypes. Journal of Cleaner Production, 65: 42–56. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.11.039
[9] Bohnsack, R., Pinkse, J. and Kolk, A. (2014). Business models for sustainable technologies: Exploring business model evolution in the case of electric vehicles. Research Policy, 43(2): 284–300. doi:10.1016/j.respol.2013.10.014
[10] Boons, F. and Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2013). Business models for sustainable innovation: State-of-the-art and steps towards a research agenda. Journal of Cleaner Production, 45: 9–19. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.07.007
[11] Boons, F., Montalvo, C., Quist, J. and Wagner, M. (2013). Sustainable innovation, business models and economic performance: An overview. Journal of Cleaner Production, 45: 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.08.013
[12] Boudoin, D., Morel, C., Gardat, M. (2014). Supply chains and Urban Logistics Platforms. In J. Gonzalez-Feliu, F. Semet, & J.-L. Routhier (Eds.), Sustainable Urban Logistics: Concepts, Methods and Information System (pp. 1–20). Springer.
[13] Bozzo, R., Conca, A. and Marangon, F. (2014). Decision support system for city logistics: literature review , and guidelines for an ex-ante model. Transportation Research Procedia, 3: 518–527. doi:10.1016/j.trpro.2014.10.033
[14] Calia, R.C., Guerrini, F.M. and Moura, G. L. (2007). Innovation networks: From technological development to business model reconfiguration. Technovation, 27(8): 426–432. doi:10.1016/j.technovation.2006.08.003
[15] Cooremans, C. (2011). Make it strategic! Financial investment logic is not enough. Energy Efficiency, 4(4), 473–492. doi:10.1007/s12053-011-9125-7.
[16] Creazza, A., Curi, S. and Dalalri, F. (2014). City logistics: panoramica delle best practive nazionali e internazionali (No. 271). Castellanza.
[17] Di Foggia, G. (2015). Governace, Strategy and Innovation of Utilities Controlled by Urban Governing Bodies: Insights for Industrial Policy. Management Research and Practice, 7(3): 5–20.
[18] Di Foggia, G. and Arrigo, U. (2015). Network industries economics: a comparison of rail Infrastructures output in key European countries. Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, 10(6): 863–876.
[19] Di Foggia, G., Lazzarotti, V. (2013). Business Implications of Local Development Policies: the Case of Dubai and the Travel Industry. Theoretical and Empirical Research in Urban Management, 8(1): 5–18.
[20] Di Foggia, G. and Lazzarotti, V. (2014). Assessing the link between revenue management and performance: insights from the Italian tourism industry. Measuring Business Excellence, 18(1): 55–65. doi:
[21] Diaz, G. R. (2015). Incompleteness and renegotiation of concession contracts: an empirical evaluation. Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, 10(1): 104–127.
[22] Greiner, R. (2013). Social dimensions of market-based instruments: Introduction. Land Use Policy, 31: 1–3. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.04.022
[23] Gruber, J., Kihm, A. and Lenz, B. (2014). A new vehicle for urban freight? An ex-ante evaluation of electric cargo bikes in courier services. Research in Transportation Business and Management, 11: 53–62. doi:10.1016/j.rtbm.2014.03.004
[24] Hall, S. and Foxon, T. J. (2014). Values in the Smart Grid: the co-evolving political economy of smart distribution. Paper for ESEIA-IGS Conference: Smart and Green Transitions in Cities / Regions: 24-25 April 2014, 74, 600–609. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2014.08.018
[25] Harmsen, R., Eichhammer, W., Wesselink, B. (2013). An exploration of possible design options for a binding energy savings target in Europe. Energy Efficiency, 7(1):97–113. doi:10.1007/s12053-013-9202-1
[26] Hurriyati, R. and Sofman, D. M. P. (2015). Analysis of Co-Creation Experience Towards a Creative City as a Toursim Destination and Its Impact on Revisit Intention. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, 7(2): 353–364. doi:10.14505/jemt.v6.2(12).08
[27] McHenry, M.P. (2013). Technical and governance considerations for advanced metering infrastructure/smart meters: Technology, security, uncertainty, costs, benefits, and risks. Energy Policy, 59: 834–842. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2013.04.048
[28] Melo, S., Baptista, P. and Costa, Á. (2014). Comparing the Use of Small Sized Electric Vehicles with Diesel Vans on City Logistics. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 111: 350–359. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.068
[29] Morelli, G. and Mileo, L. (2013). Regolazione ambientale e competitività d’impresa. Solo vincoli o qualche opportunità? Economia Dei Servizi, 3.
[30] Muñuzuri, J., Cortés, P., Grosso, R. and Guadix, J. (2012). Selecting the location of minihubs for freight delivery in congested downtown areas. Journal of Computational Science, 3(4): 228–237. doi:10.1016/j.jocs.2011.12.002
[31] Olivero, S., Medarova-Bergstrom, K. and Rizos, V. (2013). Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform - Financing Models for Smart Cities. (J.N. Ferrer, Ed.). Retrieved from Models for smart cities-january.pdf.
[32] Orpia, C.B. (2014). Time Series Analysis using Vector Autoregressive Model of Wind Speeds in Bangui Bay and Selected Weather Varia bles in Laoag City, Philippines. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, 5(1): 52–62. doi:10.14505/jemt.v5.1(9).04
[33] Quak, H., Balm, S. and Posthumus, B. (2014). Evaluation of City Logistics Solutions with Business Model Analysis. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 125: 111–124. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.1460
[34] Roumboutsos, A., Kapros, S. and Vanelslander, T. (2014). Green city logistics: Systems of Innovation to assess the potential of E-vehicles. Research in Transportation Business & Management, 11: 43–52. doi:10.1016/j.rtbm.2014.06.005
[35] Ruby, T. M. (2015). Innovation-enabling policy and regime transformation towards increased energy efficiency: the case of the circulator pump industry in Europe. Journal of Cleaner Production, 103: 574–585. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.02.017
[36] Spinedi, M. (2009). Considerazioni e qualche commento circa i principali progetti di City Logistics in Italia [Considerations and comments on main city logistics projects in Italy]. Economia Dei Servizi, 3: 399–421. doi:10.2382/31040
[37] Taniguchi, E. (2014). Concepts of city logistics for sustainable and liveable cities. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 151: 310–317. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.10.029
[38] Verbruggen, A. (2012). Financial appraisal of efficiency investments: why the good may be the worst enemy of the best. Energy Efficiency, 5(4): 571–582. doi:10.1007/s12053-012-9149-7
[39] Winther, T. and Ericson, T. (2012). Matching policy and people? Household responses to the promotion of renewable electricity. Energy Efficiency, 6(2): 369–385. doi:10.1007/s12053-012-9170-x
*** ASTRID. (2012). Servizi di distribuzione urbana delle consegne espresse in Italia fra tutela ambientale, riduzione del traffico e ricerca dell’efficienza. Milan (IT).
*** EEFIG. (2015). Energy Efficiency - the first fuel for the EU Economy. How to drive new finance for energy efficiency investments.
*** European Commission. (2007). Green Paper on market-based instruments for environment and relates policy purposes. {SEC(2007) 388} EN. Brussels. Retrieved from resources/documents/common/whats_new/com(2007)140_en.pdf
*** World Bank. (2012). Getting Green - A Sourcebook of Pollution Management Policy Tools for Growth and Competitiveness. Washington.
How to Cite
DI FOGGIA, Giacomo. Steering the Implementation of Urban Sustainability Projects: Implications for Policy. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 1, p. 5-20, oct. 2016. ISSN 2068-7729. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 03 oct. 2023. doi:


market-based instruments; urban sustainability; regulation; environmental policy; sustainable mobility