From the urban greening orthodoxy to green justice
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona & Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BCNUEJ)
Wednesday, May 19st 2021 – 14:00 – 15:00 CEST
Large cities worldwide are increasingly deploying urban greening interventions to address socio-environmental and health challenges and harness widespread benefits for citizens, industries, and investors, while protecting existing urban ecosystems, resources, environmentally- or climate- sensitive areas, and built infrastructure and settlements. Many urban greening interventions are further supported or encouraged by policy and research schemes. While those schemes promote efforts to experiment with and replicate urban greening in neighbourhoods through a city, Anguelovski argues that few of them begin with an equity lens and include concrete measures for ensuring that greening solutions benefit all residents, and in particular residents and communities who are historically vulnerable to environmental racism and/or displacement. For the most part, there is an implicit assumption of “green” trickle-down effects spreading to benefit all. Thus, even if green practitioners and managers have the best social intentions, the broader urban greening orthodoxy leaves aside important urban tensions, contradictions, and trade-offs between different social groups and their relations to urban greening. Anguelovski will illustrate this argument by quantitatively and qualitatively examining the extent to which urban greening creates equity in accessing the benefits of urban nature projects or, in contrast, perpetuates or produces urban inequities through processes of green privilege and green gentrification.
About Isabelle Anguelovski
Isabelle is the director of the Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BCNUEJ) and an ICREA Research Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where she also works as Senior Researcher and Principal Investigator at the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA). She was also a coordinator of the research group Healthy Cities and Environmental Justice at the Medical Research Institute (IMIM) at Hospital del Mar. Isabelle obtained a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before returning to Europe in 2011 with a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship. Situated at the intersection of urban planning and policy, social inequality and development studies, her research examines the extent to which urban plans and policy decisions contribute to more just, resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities, and how community groups in distressed neighborhoods contest the existence, creation, or exacerbation of environmental inequities as a result of urban (re)development processes and policies. Since 2016, she has been the PI of a five-year ERC-funded project called GreenLULUs which examines green inequalities in 40 cities in Europe, the US, and Canada.