Sustainability - with its promise of economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental integrity - is hardly a controversial goal. Yet scholars have generally overlooked the ways that policies aimed at promoting "sustainability" at local, national, and global scales have been shaped and constrained by capitalist social relations. This thought-provoking book re-examines sustainability conceptually and as it actually exists on the ground, with a particular focus on Western European and North American urban contexts. Topics include critical theoretical engagements with the concept of sustainability; how sustainability projects map onto contemporary urban politics and social justice movements; the spatial politics of conservation planning and resource use; and what progressive sustainability practices in the context of neoliberalism might look like.
'This book is a clarion call to engage with the politics of sustainability. Much needed and highly welcome, this volume challenges prevailing myths, transforms the sustainability debate into a discussion of democracy, and prods policymakers to transcend the politics of the possible. Through clear and convincing arguments grounded in real-world cases, the book asks: Whose sustainability, through what process, for whose benefit?' - "Robert W. Lake, School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, USA" 'Through detailed case studies, this innovative book critically assesses the contradictory relationship between neoliberalism and sustainability. Addressing environmental as well as social implications of neoliberalism, the contributors take a specifically geographical approach. They show not only that what counts as sustainable depends on the local context, but also that interdependencies across geographic scales and connectivities between places can compromise the viability of local sustainability strategies. This volume will contribute substantially to our understanding of the nature and possibilities of sustainable cities in an era of local entrepreneurialism.' "- Eric Sheppard, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, USA" 'Asking fundamentally political questions, such as 'What sort of natures do we wish to inhabit?', the contributors use a variety of cases to interrogate the sustainability 'problematique' with clarity and vigor.' - "Julian Agyeman, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University, USA" 'This book addresses - in a manner that is appropriately both dispiriting and inspiring - the paradox of sustainability in a post-political age. While 'everyone knows' that 'nature' faces coming calamity, opposed social forces dispute its causes and struggle over which 'natures' to protect; how, when, and where to do so; and at what price and whose cost. Many excellent contributions explore aspects of this paradox, its economic and political background, and its material and discursive expressions, and consider radical policy alternatives and practical solutions.' - "Bob Jessop, Department of Sociology and Director, Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University, UK" 'The strengths of this book lie in its theoretical exploration of the ways in which the concept of sustainable development can inform spatial planning, and in its analysis of well-presented case material... The book is both theoretically probing and empirically well grounded, making for a rich and rewarding read.' "- Susan Baker, Cardiff School of the Social Sciences, Cardiff University, UK"
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