Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice: Circles of sustainability

Routledge
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Cities are home to the most consequential current attempts at human adaptation and they provide one possible focus for the flourishing of life on this planet. However, for this to be realized in more than an ad hoc way, a substantial rethinking of current approaches and practices needs to occur.

Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice

responds to the crises of sustainability in the world today by going back to basics. It makes four major contributions to thinking about and acting upon cities. It provides a means of reflexivity learning about urban sustainability in the process of working practically for positive social development and projected change. It challenges the usually taken-for-granted nature of sustainability practices while providing tools for modifying those practices. It emphasizes the necessity of a holistic and integrated understanding of urban life. Finally it rewrites existing dominant understandings of the social whole such as the triple-bottom line approach that reduce environmental questions to externalities and social questions to background issues. The book is a much-needed practical and conceptual guide for rethinking urban engagement.

Covering the full range of sustainability domains and bridging discourses aimed at academics and practitioners, this is an essential read for all those studying, researching and working in urban geography, sustainability assessment, urban planning, urban sociology and politics, sustainable development and environmental studies.

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About the author

Paul James is Professor of Globalization and Cultural Diversity in the Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney, Australia. He was Director of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme from 2007 till 2014.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Sep 19, 2014
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Pages
260
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ISBN
9781317658368
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Sustainable Development
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Urban centres are bastions of inequalities, where poverty, marginalization, segregation and health insecurity are magnified. Minorities and the poor – often residing in neighbourhoods characterized by degraded infrastructures, food and job insecurity, limited access to transport and health care, and other inadequate public services – are inherently vulnerable, especially at risk in times of shock or change as they lack the option to avoid, mitigate and adapt to threats.

Offering both theoretical and practical approaches, this book proposes critical perspectives and an interdisciplinary lens on urban inequalities in light of individual, group, community and system vulnerabilities and resilience. Touching upon current research trends in food justice, environmental injustice through socio-spatial tactics and solution-based approaches towards urban community resilience, Resilience, Environmental Justice and the City promotes perspectives which transition away from the traditional discussions surrounding environmental justice and pinpoints the need to address urban social inequalities beyond the build environment, championing approaches that help embed social vulnerabilities and resilience in urban planning.

With its methodological and dynamic approach to the intertwined nature of resilience and environmental justice in urban cities, this book will be of great interest to students, scholars and practitioners within urban studies, environmental management, environmental sociology and public administration.

Green Gentrification looks at the social consequences of urban "greening" from an environmental justice and sustainable development perspective. Through a comparative examination of five cases of urban greening in Brooklyn, New York, it demonstrates that such initiatives, while positive for the environment, tend to increase inequality and thus undermine the social pillar of sustainable development. Although greening is ostensibly intended to improve environmental conditions in neighborhoods, it generates green gentrification that pushes out the working-class, and people of color, and attracts white, wealthier in-migrants. Simply put, urban greening "richens and whitens," remaking the city for the sustainability class. Without equity-oriented public policy intervention, urban greening is negatively redistributive in global cities.

This book argues that environmental injustice outcomes are not inevitable. Early public policy interventions aimed at neighborhood stabilization can create more just sustainability outcomes. It highlights the negative social consequences of green growth coalition efforts to green the global city, and suggests policy choices to address them.

The book applies the lessons learned from green gentrification in Brooklyn to urban greening initiatives globally. It offers comparison with other greening global cities. This is a timely and original book for all those studying environmental justice, urban planning, environmental sociology, and sustainable development as well as urban environmental activists, city planners and policy makers interested in issues of urban greening and gentrification.

FEW TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS are as impressive as the ability to see our own planet from outer space. The beautiful sphere suspended against the black void of space makes plain the bond that the billions of us on Earth have in common.

This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.

Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.

So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.

Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.


`Paul James has written a magnificent account of the world's current condition, one that highlights the complexities and contradictions with which people, communities, and nations must contend and that does so in a compelling and creative style. Stressing the interaction between global and local forces, his writing style is lively and compelling as well as peppered with a wide range of citations, from Woman's Day to the Cambodian Daily (on the same page!)' - James N Rosenau, University Professor of International Affairs, The George Washington University

Globalism, Nationalism, Tribalism establishes a new basis for understanding the changing nature of polity and community and offers unprecedented attention to these dominant trends. Paul James charts the contradictions and tensions we all encounter in an era of increasing globalization, from genocide and terrorism to television and finance capital.

Globalism is treated as an uneven and layered process of spatial expansion, not simply one of disorder, fragmentation or rupture. Nor is it simply a force of homogenization.

Nationalism is taken seriously as a continuing and important formation of contemporary identity and politics. James rewrites the modernism theories of the nation-state without devolving into the postmodernist assertion that all is invention or surface gloss.

Tribalism is given the attention it has long warranted and is analyzed as a continuing and changing formation of social life, from the villages of Rwanda to the cities of the West.

Theoretically adept and powerfully argued, this is the first comprehensive analysis that brings these crucial themes of contemporary life together.

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