Green Cities: Inequality, Space, and Sustainability

Sep 28, 2018, 9:00 am9:00 am
Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture


Event Description

Green Cities: Inequality, Space, and Sustainability

Keynote speakers: Melissa Checker (Queens College) and Laura Lawson (Rutgers University)

From beautification in Detroit to climate resilience in New Orleans, cities across the United States have adopted the language and strategies of “greening” to confront urban problems. Indeed, a coalition of agents – from private foundations, to federal funding, grassroots nonprofits, and municipal planning - have united behind green solutions to address not only environmental vulnerability, but also depopulation, economic downturn, food insecurity, and spatial inequalities. The organizers propose an interdisciplinary conference on greening as a critical aspect of contemporary life and governance in American cities. We seek to bring together scholars from the humanities and social sciences who study green cities and inequality. 

First, we raise questions of greening as a situated process in particular moments and spaces. To what different ends do cities deploy greening? How is greening implicated in other urban governance logics and initiatives? And what is the social life of greening as these strategies are imagined, practiced, and reimagined in various contexts? 

Second, we critically examine the “green as good-for-all” framework that many cities deploy and raise questions of greening and urban inequality. As cities turn to green solutions to urban problems, how do greening initiatives interact with spatial, racial, and economic inequalities? Can green strategies be used to alleviate place inequality? 

Finally, we are interested in conceptualizing the links between urban greening and earlier environmental justice movements and frameworks. Does urban greening call for a new framework for understanding race, inequality, and the environment in the city?

We welcome papers from a range of disciplinary approaches, including but not limited to anthropology, environmental studies, geography, history, sociology, urban studies, African American studies, and American studies. We are especially interested in work on cities in the United States, but welcome submissions on cities across the globe. Topics may include:

● Urban growth, economic (re)development, and greening
● Climate change vulnerability and adaptation, and urban inequality
● Green gentrification
● Parks, green cities, and unequal assets
● Food justice and the spatial distribution of food access
● Infrastructure, ecology, and water

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