Category Archives: Cities

Environmental migration & cities in the context of global environmental change (S.B. Adamo)

Author

Susana B. Adamo

Keywords

Environment, environmental migration, cities, migration inflows, GEC impacts, risk, secondary migration, displacement

Abstract

There is a renewed interest in environmental migration and displacement that is fueled by concerns about the impacts of global environmental change on human populations. Regardless on-going debates about magnitudes and definitions, recent research on the topic shows a complex picture where environmental events are rarely the only drivers, several factors — among them the characteristics of the event and the degree of vulnerability — influence the outcome, and different types of mobility can be distinguished. Within this framework and in the context of global processes, research on the interactions among cities, environmental migration and GEC present two interrelated perspectives. On the one hand, cities are increasingly exposed to the impacts of GEC events, which can trigger environmental migration to other regions. On the other hand, they are the most common destinations of migration inflows, and environmental change outside of cities can exacerbate the influx of migrants to cities. The case of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina dramatically illustrates these issues, highlighting the policy and governance dimensions.

Citation

(2010) Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2(3), 161–165

Paper

Environmental migration and cities in the context of global environmental change

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Green Cities Urban Growth and the Environment (M.E. Kahn)

Author

Matthew E. Kahn

Keywords

Urban Environmental Quality, Kuznets Curve, Income Growth, Urban Environment, Market, Income Growth, Greener Governance, Population Growth, Spatial Growth, Cost, United States, Urban and Global Sustainability

Abstract

Rapid urban growth and suburban sprawl have heightened concern in many quarters about sustainable development. Are economic growth and environmental health always mutually exclusive goals? Nearly everyone would choose to pursue both given the chance, but many believe that it would be overly optimistic—perhaps naïve—to expect both. “Green city” proponents, however, do hope to realize both ambitions.

What exactly is a green city? What does it mean to say that San Francisco is greener than Houston, or that Vancouver is a green city while Beijing is not? When does urban growth lower environmental quality, and when does it produce environmental gains? These are the questions that drive this smart and engaging book.

In Green Cities, Matthew Kahn surveys the burgeoning economic literature on the environmental consequences of urban growth. He discusses the environmental Kuznets curve, which theorizes that the relationship between environmental quality and per capita income follows a bell-shaped curve. The heart of the book unpacks and expands this notion by tracing the environmental effects of economic growth, population growth, and suburban sprawl. Kahn considers how cities can deal with the environmental challenges produced by growth. His concluding chapter addresses the role of cities in promoting climate change and asks how cities in turn are likely to be affected by this trend.

Kahn considers the evidence for and against rival perspectives throughout the book. Despite being labeled as purveyors of a “dismal science,” economists are often quite optimistic about the relationship between urban development and the environment. In contrast, many ecologists remain wary of the environmental consequences of free-market growth. Green Cities does not try to settle this dispute. Instead, it marshals data and arguments to convey the excitement of an ongoing debate, enabling readers to formulate well-informed opinions and priorities on this critically important issue.

Citation

Matthew E. Kahn, Green Cities Urban Growth and the Environment (Brookings Institution Press, 2006)

Book

Green Cities Urban Growth and the Environment

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Gender Equality for Smarter Cities: Challenges and Progress (UN-HABITAT)

Author

UN-HABITAT

Keywords

Towns and cities gender inequalities; urbanisation

Abstract

Towns and cities are increasingly important places for tackling gender inequalities. This book highlights some of the key gender issues we face in the context of rapid urbanisation in the developing world. It also provides an overview of UN-HABITAT’s work in promoting gender equality in all its activities and programmes. Creating equal opportunities and protecting rights for both women and men contributes to better living conditions for the urban poor and achievement of the Millennium development goals.

Citation

UN-HABITAT, Gender Equality for Smarter Cities: Challenges and Progress(UN-HABITAT, 2009)

Report

Gender Equality for Smarter Cities: Challenges and Progress

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Property paradigms and place-making: a right to the city; a right to the street? (A. Layard)

Author

Antonia Layard

Keywords

Right to the city, right to the streets, localism, highways, place, habitation, use and appropriation, management and participation

Abstract

The author explores the ‘right to the city’ as a rhetorical device and political strategy aimed at reformulating our conception of inclusion in city cores through the lens of the ‘right to the street’. Although the ‘right to the city’ is an imaginative, rhetorical claim for justice, existing legal provisions related to the philosophy of ‘localism’ provide avenues for a progressive reformulation of ‘streets’ as being more than routes for traffic and commerce: as places for ‘roots’, habitation, walking and dwelling which city dwellers can be empowered to use and manage as ‘their streets’ and thereby to formulate a new, inclusory conception of ‘public property’.

Citation

(2012) 3/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 254-272

Paper

Property paradigms and place-making: a right to the city; a right to the street?

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Lived bodies, place, and phenomenology: implications for human rights and environmental justice (D. Seamon)

Author

David Seamon

Keywords

phenomenology, lifeworld, natural attitude, lived body, body-subject, environmental embodiment, place, place ballet, Jane Jacobs, Eric Klinenberg, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, place justice

Abstract

This article considers how a phenomenological perspective contributes to the theme of ‘human bodies in material space’. The author reviews several central phenomenological concepts, including lifeworld, natural attitude, epoché, and the phenomenological reduction. The author then draws on the phenomenological discussion of lived body, body-subject, and environmental embodiment to describe the intimate lived relationship between human bodies and the physical worlds in which they find themselves. Particularly relevant in this regard is the phenomenological concept of place, which is defined as any environmental locus that gathers human actions, experiences, and meanings spatially. The article uses the work of urban critic Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961) and sociologist Eric Klinenberg (Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, 2002) to illustrate how environmental embodiment and vibrant urban places are supported or stymied by material and spatial qualities like street configuration, population density, and mix of activities. The author concludes by considering what a phenomenological perspective on environmental embodiment and place might mean for human rights and environmental justice. The possibility of place justice is proposed: the use of indirect means like environmental design, public policy, and place-oriented law to protect vibrant places and to invigorate moribund environments.

Citation

(2013) 4/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 143-166

Paper

Lived bodies, place, and phenomenology: implications for human rights and environmental justice

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