The process of making our cities more sustainable, environmentally friendly ecosystems begins with the individual.  Many of the central components of a low-carbon lifestyle are already familiar to urban residents, such as a comprehensive, fully integrated and popular public transportation system.  Further changes include a shift to electric vehicles among, not only, private citizens, but equally importantly, in public and industrial transportation.

In addition to this shift within the transportation sector of the community, other changes include a campaign to reform construction practices to ensure the creation of new green-buildings, the transformation of old, less environmentally-friendly, buildings into harmonious parts of the sustainable urban landscape.  Along with this process of retrofitting older buildings, a move towards green, renewable sources of energy will ensure a marked reduction in the overall environmental impact of a city.

There are certain principles which govern the assessment of a city’s progression towards sustainability which may be used to guide the formation of more specific goals.  These guidelines include:

· Determining what emissions to attribute to a city.
· Assessing the policies implemented by the city.
· Tracking the amount of money which the city has invested towards sustainability.
· Setting certain, city specific, base levels against which future reductions are measured.
· Adopting specific standards for the measurement of emissions.

Once a city has defined a set of guidelines to manage its transition to a low-carbon ecosystem they must define the practical steps which will be taken to achieve these goals.