Imagining a waste-free landscape: reconnecting people to place as a means to foster agency and overcome dominant structures that constrain city service provision in a peri-urban community in Xochimilco, Mexico City

Authors: Beatriz Ruizpalacios*, UNAM, J. Mario Siqueiros-GarcĂ­a, IIMAS-UNAM, Amy M. Lerner, LANCIS-UNAM
Topics: Environmental Perception, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Transformation, sense of place, stewardship, peri-urban
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Washington 6, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Waste externalities are overwhelming both at local and planetary scales and as the transition towards a circular economy is slowly moving forward, in the current waste management system most of the responsibility is still transferred to the individuals. However, as responsible consumers and law-abiding citizens, individuals have marginal power in this transition but are experiencing waste externalities like flooding and disease. In this context, we seek to explore how transformative action can emerge among citizens in the peri-urban frontier in a community in the outskirts of Mexico City. Urban residents and agricultural producers share both the landscape and waste externalities, but assume themselves as powerless in controlling the problem. We propose that by remembering and eliciting the connections between people and place and through the collective analysis of how waste has disrupted these relationships, we can motivate the emergence of creative transformational actions at the local level that foster environmental stewardship and scale up to influence policy. We hold that through building on capacities and resources that improve waste management strategies among residents, agency may be steered towards the caring of their communities overcoming legal impediments and institutional mismatches that limit city service provision.

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