Intensifying or transforming sustainable cities? Fragmented logics of urban environmentalism

Hodson, M., & Marvin, S. (2017). Intensifying or transforming sustainable cities? Fragmented logics of urban environmentalism. Local Environment, 22(sup1), 8–22. doi:10.1080/13549839.2017.1306498

Platform
Sheffield-Manchester Global
Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Projects
Governance and Policy for Sustainability, GAPS
DOI Title
Intensifying or transforming sustainable cities? Fragmented logics of urban environmentalism
Journal
Local Environment
ISSN/ISBN
1354-9839 1469-6711
DOI
10.1080/13549839.2017.1306498
Author(s)
Michael Hodson Simon Marvin
Published date
Subject
Geography, Planning and Development Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

 

Abstract

This paper analyses recent shifts in urban sustainability discourse and practice through a critical review of the historical development of the concept from the 1970s through to the global economic crisis in the 2007 and its fragmentation into the 2010s. Using this periodisation, the paper shows how the content of urban sustainability discourse has changed. First, it illustrates that the dominant assumption of sustainable cities’ discourse was to utilise economic growth to ecologically modernise urban environments. Second, it examines how the global economic crisis has intensified this fix and led to a new, even narrower emphasis on the techno-economic value of those aspects of urban environment that have economic and market potential. Third, it analyses the fragmenting of sustainable cities’ discourse into a set of competing logics that reflect this narrower agenda. This paper argues that the sustainable city has been absorbed into these new logics that are much more narrowly techno-economically focused and are squeezing out traditional concerns with social justice and equity.