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Imagining Sustainability : Creative Urban Environmental Governance in Chicago and Melbourne (Hardcover)
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Cities, rather than nations, have become the key sites of enacting environmental policies. This is due to the combination of an increasing urban population and the increasing amount of action on the part of local government as national governments have failed to act on climate change—cities are the solution as well as the problem. Understanding how actors in local government conceptualize sustainability and their role in producing it, and what difference that understanding makes to their physical, political, and social environments now and in the future, is the focus of Creative Urban Environmental Governance.
In considering the urban response to environmental issues such as climate change and resource availability, international comparisons can uncover new ideas and possibilities. When the US looks to Europe for ideas on urban sustainability, comparisons are often tempered by significant differences in the built environment, land use controls, and political climate. Rarely are the US and Australia considered side-by-side, despite their similar physical size, colonial histories, urbanization levels, and automobile dependency. Chicago and Melbourne are prime candidates for such a comparison: they are cities of the same age, they have similar historical trajectories as interior gateways followed by industrial growth and then deindustrialization, and they have demonstrated the same recent desire to be global champions of sustainability. Based on qualitative fieldwork in these two cities, the author uses Karen Barad’s methodology of diffraction to read these case studies through each other. Rather than simply making a side-by-side comparison, a diffractive methodology helps to understand not only what differences exist between these two places, but what effects those differences have on the urban environment.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of urban studies, urban planning and environmental policy and governance.