Democratizing the Green City

Greening global cities: Luxury ecology and its discontents

A fence separates a luxury apartment building with green space recreational areas next to a crowd of low income houses
Thursday, March 13, 6:30pm9:00pm

New York’s fame as a capital of sustainable urbanism keeps growing.  How can we distinguish between genuine ecological enhancements and mere green marketing? To what extent have greening efforts in New York and other cities in the North and South served first and foremost as “luxury ecologies”, which improve the local environment at the cost of social displacement? What potential is there for urban greening to be anchored to social justice projects? And in the context of global city development strategies, how much can grassroots struggles for ecological services like essential water and sanitation infrastructure achieve? We seek to investigate these questions by exploring the link between ecological enhancement and social displacement across North and South, from Mumbai to New York, probing municipal policymakers’ and grassroots activists’ challenges and opportunities.

Invited Speakers:

Julian Brash, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Monclair State University, is the author of the acclaimed Bloomberg’s New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City (2011). His current research focuses on the High Line and other new public parks in New York City.

Nikhil Anand, Assistant Professor of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota, has written extensively in geography and anthropology on the political ecology of urban infrastructures and their social and material relations, with a focus on Mumbai.

Miriam Greenberg, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Urban Studies Research Cluster at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the author of Branding New York: How a City in Crisis was Sold to the World (2009) and the forthcoming Crisis Cities: Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans (with Kevin Fox Gotham). Her current research addresses the varying discourses and practices of “urban sustainability,” with a particular focus on California city-regions.

Following the speakers’ opening remarks and a brief round of responses, the audience will join in a discussion moderated by Hillary Angelo, a PhD candidate in Sociology at NYU who has written extensively on urban political ecology, and whose dissertation tracks a century of urban greening in Germany’s Ruhr region.

The Democratizing the Green City event series is collaboration between IPK’s Cities, Cultures, and Climate Change working group and the Urban Democracy Lab at Gallatin

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