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Table 4 Explanation of links and loops from internal activities shown in Fig. 1. Urban environmental degradation triggered action whereby the city supported an approach, which in time brought support from the national government

From: Positive inertia and proactive influencing towards sustainability: systems analysis of a frontrunner city

LoopLinksDescription
B1 Citizen awareness1–2 – 3 – 4 – 5Kitakyushu’s severe environmental degradation in the 1960s caused women’s groups to campaign and experiment to produce data on the effects of pollution, as they were concerned for their children’s health. They raised enough awareness to exert pressure on the local government and to generate support for new policies that addressed urban sustainability. As the state of the environment improved fewer people experienced adverse health impacts, and there was less urgency among citizens to promote data-collection by groups on how the environment was being managed.
R1 Local government leadership6–7 – 3 – 4By the 1970s the dominance of loop B1 declined, as the effect of loop R1 increased. The local government took advantage of the past efforts of the citizens (B1) who initiated and drove a campaign focused on urban sustainability. Local government exercised better political leadership and supported activities, which maintained citizen awareness of urban environmental management strategies and support for new policies.
R2 Business effects8–9 – 10 – 4Success in approaching urban revitalisation and sustainability increased business opportunities. For example, the local government made linkages with local business to create an institutional environment that would encourage environmental business. Kitakyushu’s Eco Town project saw 29 environmental businesses set up an environmental recycling industrial park, and increase employment and investments. It is used as an educational and research resource to continue developing sustainability innovations. It is now a central part of Kitakyushu’s Eco Tourism business. Business has played a role in supporting continued new initiatives in the city.
R3 National level support11–12 – 13Success in the city’s approach generated support from the national government. For example, the national government has used Kitakyushu as a show-case, supporting its efforts, and has continued to provide financial resources to continue experiments or to establish new ones, for example, Higashida ‘green village’, international cooperation, and new institutions, such as the Centre for Asian Low-Carbon Society.