The Very Hungry City: Urban Energy Efficiency and the Economic Fate of Cities


THE VERY HUNGRY CITY: Urban Energy Efficiency and the Economic Fate of Cities makes a lively argument for the importance for urban energy efficiency in terms of cities’ economic viability. Dr. Austin Troy seeks to illustrate how and why our cities have developed as they have, the consumption pitfalls inherent in their structure, and what needs to be done to make them more energy efficient if we expect to remain financially competitive in the future. 


THE VERY HUNGRY CITY interweaves entertaining narrative portraits of several US cities (with one European city as a startling comparison) with important policy and environmental information. Dr. Troy's analysis calls for a shift in how we see energy efficiency—from being purely environmental issue, to one of grave economic necessity. Using the theories of Ecological Economics—an outlook that eschews classical economic assumptions that financial growth is indefinitely sustainable through technology—Dr. Troy asserts that environmental stewardship is critical to our future economic vitality. A mixture of history, urban policy, environmental science, and economic thought, THE VERY HUNGRY CITY is as engaging as it is informative.



North American publisher: Yale University Press

Foreign rights contact: Yale University Press, Anne Bihan (

Film rights: Gillian MacKenzie (


"Reducing the energy footprint of our communities is not only good for the environment, but also good for the economy. Cities and towns that can adapt to using less energy will be at a distinct competitive advantage in this coming age of energy uncertainty. Engagingly written and meticulously researched, The Very Hungry City is a must-read for those who are interested in how energy is currently used in our communities and how those communities can use less while actually improving the quality of life" --Peter Shumlin, Governor of Vermont

"The Very Hungry City is a readable analysis about why it makes sense to
plan for our future now and that Smart Growth does not mean no growth." --Christine Whitman, former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the EPA