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Remaking Oceans Governance

Critical Perspectives on Marine Spatial Planning

Luke Fairbanks, Noëlle Boucquey, Lisa M. Campbell, and Sarah Wise

Abstract

Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.

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(Un)seen Seas

Technological Mediation, Oceanic Imaginaries, and Future Depths

Stephanie Ratté

Abstract

Remote technologies and digitally mediated representations now serve as a central mode of interaction with hard-to-reach sea spaces and places. This article reviews the literature on varied scholarly engagements with the sea and on the oceanic application of technologies—among them geographic information systems, remotely operated vehicles, and autonomous underwater vehicles—that allow people to envision and engage with deep and distant oceanic spaces. I focus on the extension of a digital and disembodied human presence in the oceans and the persistence of frontier fictions, in which the sea figures as a site of future-oriented possibilities. Finally, I ask what the emphasis on “seeing” through technological mediation means for how we imagine vast spaces, and consider how these elements of the oceanic imaginary can be productively complicated by drawing attention to the materiality of the oceans and the scalar politics of dynamic spaces.

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Unbuilt and Unfinished

The Temporalities of Infrastructure

Ashley Carse and David Kneas

Abstract

Infrastructures have proven to be useful focal points for understanding social phenomena. The projects of concern in this literature are often considered complete or, if not, their materialization is assumed to be imminent. However, many—if not most—of the engineered artifacts and systems classified as infrastructure exist in states aptly characterized as unbuilt or unfinished. Bringing together scholarship on unbuilt and unfinished infrastructures from anthropology, architecture, geography, history, and science and technology studies, this article examines the ways in which temporalities articulate as planners, builders, politicians, potential users, and opponents negotiate with a project and each another. We develop a typology of heuristics for analyzing the temporalities of the unbuilt and unfinished: shadow histories, present absences, suspended presents, nostalgic futures, and zombies. Each heuristic makes different temporal configurations visible, suggesting novel research questions and methodological approaches.

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The Urban Politics of Mega-Events

Grand Promises Meet Local Resistance

John Lauermann

Abstract

This article reviews recent scholarship on the urban politics of mega-events. Mega-events have long been promoted as drivers of urban development, based on their potential to generate beneficial legacies for host cities. Yet the mega-event industry is increasingly struggling to find cities willing to host. Political arguments that promote mega-events to host cities include narratives about mega-event legacy—the potential for events to generate long-term benefits—and mega-event leveraging—the idea that cities can strategically link event planning to other policy agendas. In contrast, the apparent decline in interest among potential host cities stems from two political shifts: skepticism toward the promises made by boosters, and the emergence of new kinds of protest movements. The article analyzes an example of largely successful opposition to mega-events, and evaluates parallels between the politics of mega-events and those of other urban megaprojects.

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What Makes a Megaproject?

A Review of Global Hydropower Assemblages

Grant M. Gutierrez, Sarah Kelly, Joshua J. Cousins, and Christopher Sneddon

Abstract

This article reviews how global hydropower assemblages catalyze socio-ecological change in the world's rivers. As a quintessential megaproject, massive dams and the hydropower they generate have long captivated the modernist development imaginary. Yet, despite growing recognition of the socio-ecological consequences of hydropower, it has recently assumed a central role in supporting renewable energy transitions. We highlight three trends in hydropower politics that characterize global hydropower assemblages: mega-dams as markers of nation-state development; river protection by territorial alliances and social movements opposed to hydropower; and transitions from spectacular, centralized hydropower installations to the propagation of small and large hydropower within climate mitigation schemes. We offer insights on how global hydropower assemblages force examination beyond traditional categories of “mega” through more holistic and grounded analyses of significance.

Open access

Adaptation Lived as a Story

Why We Should Be Careful about the Stories We Use to Tell Other Stories

Nicole Klenk

Abstract

Within the field of climate change adaptation research, “stories” are usually simply mined for data, developed as communication and engagement technologies, and used to envision different futures. But there are other ways of understanding people’s narratives. This article explores how we can move away from understanding stories as cultural constructs that represent a reality and toward understanding them as the way in which adaptation is lived. The article investigates questions such as the following: As climate adaptation researchers, what can and should we do when we are told unsolicited stories? How can storytelling, as a way of life rather than as a source of data, inform and elaborate scientific approaches to adaptation research and planning? In this article, I move away from the literature that seeks to develop narrative methods in adaptation science. Instead, I focus on stories that we do not elicit and the world-making practice of storytelling.

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Designing a Green Belt for Xalapa City

Veracruz under current Mexican policies

Griselda Benítez, Gerardo Alvarado-Castillo, René A. Palestina, Mara Cortés, Kari Williams, and Israel Acosta

English abstract: Green Belts are often proposed as an alternative for containing urban sprawl, restoring ecological processes, recovering connectivity, and maintaining the multi-functionality that cities need. This article analyzes a proposed Green Belt for Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. It is spatially examined through GIS analysis and designed on the notion of Garden City as a strip to circumvent the city. Existing conditions are also discussed. Two existing conservation initiatives are compared to the proposed Green Belt strategy. Its establishment requires agreements between Xalapa and surrounding municipalities. The proposed strategy brings local government and citizens together to preserve the remaining vegetation and thus promote the well-being of local inhabitants.

Spanish abstract: Los cinturones verdes frecuentemente se han propuesto como una alternativa para contener la expansión urbana desordenada, restaurar los procesos ecológicos y recuperar la conectividad, y mantener la multifuncionalidad que las ciudades necesitan. Este artículo analiza un esquema de Cinturón Verde para Xalapa, Veracruz, México. Es espacialmente examinado, diseñado bajo el concepto de Ciudad Jardín, como una franja que rodea a la ciudad, el análisis se elaboró con un SIG. Las condiciones existentes también se discuten. Se comparan dos iniciativas de conservación existentes con la estrategia propuesta de Cinturón Verde. Su establecimiento requiere acuerdos entre Xalapa y los municipios aledaños. La estrategia propuesta requiere reunir a los gobiernos locales y ciudadanos para preservar la vegetación remanente y así promover el bienestar de los habitantes locales.

French abstract Les ceintures vertes sont fréquemment proposées comme une alternative pour limiter l’expansion urbaine désordonnée, restaurer les processus écologiques, récupérer la connectivité et maintenir la multifonctionnalité que les villes requièrent. Cet article analyse une proposition de ceinture verte pour Xalapa dans l’état du Veracruz au Mexique. Celle-ci est examinée et élaborée en particulier à partir du concept de cité-jardin, formée par une trame qui entoure la ville et son analyse a été élaborée par un Système d’information géographique (SIG). Les conditions existantes sont également discutées. Deux initiatives de conservation qui suivent la stratégie de la ceinture verte sont comparées. Leur mise en oeuvre implique des accords entre Xalapa et les municipes des alentours. La stratégie proposée impose la réunion des gouvernements locaux et des citoyens pour préserver la végétation restante et faciliter la promotion du bien-être des habitants.

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Efficiency and the Rebound Effect in the Hegemonic Discourse on Energy

Franco Ruzzenenti and Aleksandra Wagner

Abstract

The aim of the article is to discuss the unintended consequences of energy efficiency, in the context of defuturization, by addressing the phenomenon of the rebound effect. The energy discourse is presented as ideological discourse protecting the status quo, even if it contemplates alternatives solutions. The interpretation of energy efficiency in the light of the Luhmannian concept of temporal structures in the modern society is proposed, and two types of expert narratives on the rebound effect are outlined: the mechanistic rebound effect and the systemic Jevons paradox. Finally, we explain why none of them are noticeably reflected in public discourse on energy policy and are limited to the scientific milieu.

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El desarrollo sostenible como política pública

Caso Gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado de Quito

María del Carmen Zenck Huerta, Puiyen Urrutia Camchong, and Ingrid Ríos Rivera

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was chosen by WWF in 2016 as one of the most sustainable cities in Latin America, a distinction it shares with Bogotá, Cali, Monteria, San Isidro, Miraflores, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Belo Horizonte. To reach this recognition, the local governments of these cities implement economic, social and environmental policies that lay the legal foundations for an integrally sustainable and coherent development. This study explores the unique case of Quito, whose decentralized autonomous government implements a local public policy on social responsibility for the promotion of the sustainable development of the territory, based on corporate co-responsibility and citizen participation, incorporating international standards such as the Global Compact Principles, GRI, ISO 26000 and the SDGs.

Spanish abstract: Quito, capital de Ecuador, fue elegida por WWF en 2016 como una de las ciudades más sostenibles en América Latina, distinción que comparte junto a Bogotá, Cali, Montería, San Isidro, Miraflores, Río de Janeiro, Recife y Belo Horizonte. Para llegar a este reconocimiento, los gobiernos locales de estas ciudades implementan políticas económicas, sociales y medioambientales que sientan las bases legales para un desarrollo sostenible integral y coherente. Este estudio explora el caso único de Quito, cuyo gobierno autónomo descentralizado implementa una política pública local en responsabilidad social para el fomento del desarrollo sostenible del territorio, sustentada en la corresponsabilidad corporativa y la participación ciudadana, incorporando normas internacionales como los Principios del Pacto Global, GRI, ISO 26000 y los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible.

French abstract: Quito, la capitale de l’Équateur, a été choisie par le WWF en 2016 comme l’une des villes les plus durables d’Amérique latine, une distinction qu’elle partage avec Bogota, Cali, Monteria, San Isidro, Miraflores, Rio de Janeiro, Recife et Belo Horizonte. Pour parvenir à cette reconnaissance, les gouvernements locaux de ces villes mettent en oeuvre des politiques économiques, sociales et environnementales qui jettent les bases juridiques d’un développement durable intégral et cohérent. Cette étude explore le cas unique de Quito, dont le gouvernement autonome décentralisé met en oeuvre une politique publique locale de responsabilité sociale pour la promotion du développement durable du territoire, fondée sur la coresponsabilité des entreprises et la participation des citoyens, intégrant des normes internationales telles que le Pacte Mondial Principes, GRI, ISO 26000 et les ODD.

Open access

Environmental Expertise as Group Belonging

Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies

Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist

Abstract

What is environmental expertise? The background to this question is that many scholars consider environmental expertise crucial for discovering, diagnosing, and solving environmental problems but do not discuss in any depth what constitutes expertise. By investigating the meaning and use of the concept of expertise in three general theories within environmental sociology—the treadmill of production, risk society, and ecological modernization—and findings from science and technology studies (STS), this article develops a sociological understanding of environmental expertise: what it is and how it is acquired. Environmental expertise is namely about group belonging and professional socialization around specialized skills; that is, it concerns both substantial competence and social recognition. The implications of this general view on expertise are then used to enrich theories in environmental sociology.