The Urban Material Politics of Decarbonization and Resilience II

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Energy and Environment Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Endymion, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Organizers: Laura Tozer, John Stehlin, Anthony Levenda
Chairs: Sarah Knuth


This session explores today's multi-sited movement to frame urban built environments as a central point of intervention for both climate change mitigation and resilience. Today's interventions build on a long history of urban climate change activism and politics that geographers have long been at the forefront of efforts to empirically investigate and theorize. However, the bulk of urban geography continues to neglect the importance of urban materiality in climate activism, even as new calculations of decarbonization (often profit-driven) and climate risk transform core areas of scholarly exploration and engaged praxis. These areas include urban real estate development and redevelopment, financing, growth machine politics, displacements and injustices. Similarly, critical geographic explorations of climate policy have often been preoccupied with carbon markets, offset politics and policy representations to the exclusion of the embedded materialities of actual decarbonization. As decarbonization unfolds, it becomes necessary to consider the material politics of low carbon transformations, in which retrofitting urban built environments have becoming increasingly central. To fill this gap, this session responds to calls to address the material politics of low-carbon transitions and calls to critique urban political ecology's persistent neglect of buildings and the political economy of real estate. Particularly, the session places work on retrofitting for climate change mitigation and resilience more firmly in conversation with critical accounts of "green" urban (re)development and considerations of the politics of these transformations. Through a two part session with paper presentations and a panel discussion, we advance the ongoing discussion on green gentrification/displacement as an outcome of urban property transformations for climate change, as well as the other multi-scalar political work that building and real estate-led climate interventions may be doing in the political configuration of cities, in national struggles over energy transitions, in transnational accumulation strategies, in transformations of the real estate development industry, in varieties of urban competition, and beyond.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist I-Chun Catherine Chang Macalester College 20
Panelist Joshua Long Southwestern University 20
Panelist John Stehlin University of California, Berkeley 20

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