A new paper by Sara Meerow and Joshua Newell in Landscape and Urban Planning introduces the Green Infrastructure Spatial Planning Model (GISP), a GIS-based multicriteria approach that integrates six benefits of green infrastructure and allows for the consideration of stakeholder priorities. The model is applied to Detroit, revealing that current green infrastructure projects are not being optimally located. The GISP model provides a replicable approach for evaluating competing and complementary ecosystem services for a given landscape. Read the article here.
Reweaving the Urban Socio-ecological Fabric: Green infrastructure, urban agriculture, and social justice
Sara Meerow, University of Michigan
Alec Foster, University of Michigan
This session seeks to advance theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of green infrastructure and urban agriculture in cities. Of particular interest are papers that conceptualize relationships between these often divided research streams. Green infrastructure and urban agriculture have been heralded as solutions for diverse urban environmental and social issues, from amelioration of air and water pollution and urban heat islands to food insecurities and enhanced urban resilience (Beatley and Newman 2013; McClintock, 2010; Rouse and Bunster-Ossa 2013; Tzoulas et al. 2007). However, as numerous scholars have noted, both green infrastructure and urban agriculture (and urban green spaces more generally) can lead to gentrification (Pearsall, 2010; Qastel, 2009). This highlights the need to examine questions of social justice.
We seek theoretical and empirical papers that examine the benefits, trade-offs, scalar, political and justice dimensions of reweaving urban socio-ecological fabrics. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• Green agriculture, green infrastructure, and gentrification
• Efforts to make cities ‘just green enough’ (Wolch, Byrne, and Newell 2014)
• Potentials and challenges associated with ‘scaling up’ green agriculture and green infrastructure
• Urban agriculture as a form of green infrastructure
• Varying perspectives on ecosystems services and urban green space
• Urban agriculture, food production, and food sovereignty
Joshua Newell (University of Michigan)
Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Alec Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sara Meerow (email@example.com) by October 21st.
Beatley, T, and P Newman. 2013. “Biophilic Cities Are Sustainable, Resilient Cities.” Sustainability 5 (8): 3328–45.
McClintock, N. 2010. Why Farm the City? Theorizing Urban Agriculture through a Lens of Metabolic Rift. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 3 (2) 191-207.
Pearsall, H. 2010. From Brown to Green? Assessing Social Vulnerability to Environmental Gentrification in New York City. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 28(5) 872–886.
Qastel, N. (2009). Political Ecologies of Gentrification. Urban Geography 30(7): 694–725.
Rouse, David C., and Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa. 2013. Green Infrastructure: A Landscape Approach. Chicago: American Planning Association.
Tzoulas, Konstantinos, Kalevi Korpela, Stephen Venn, Vesa Yli-Pelkonen, Aleksandra Kaźmierczak, Jari Niemela, and Philip James. 2007. “Promoting Ecosystem and Human Health in Urban Areas Using Green Infrastructure: A Literature Review.” Landscape and Urban Planning 81 (3): 167–78.
Wolch, Jennifer R., Jason Byrne, and Joshua P. Newell. 2014. “Urban Green Space, Public Health, and Environmental Justice: The Challenge of Making Cities ‘just Green Enough.’”Landscape and Urban Planning 125: 234–44.
Sara Meerow was recently awarded a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, the Menakka and Essel Bailey Fellowship, and first place in the AAG Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group Student Research Competition.
The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship supports outstanding doctoral students in their last year working on dissertations that are unusually creative, ambitious and risk-taking.
The Menakka and Essel Bailey Fellowship is awarded to graduate students pursuing research, field work, cultural experience, or other study relevant to their graduate degree, preferably in the areas of public health, health care, or environmental work in South or Southeast Asia (excluding China or Japan).
The American Association of Geographers Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group Student Research Competition provides an annual award to support graduate research in the area of human dimensions of global change.
A new paper by Sara Meerow, Joshua Newell, and Melissa Stults in Landscape and Urban Planning reviews the existing literature on urban resilience and proposes a new, inclusive definition. Read the article here.
The School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) 2015 Doctoral Students’ Speaker Event presents:
Can We Achieve Sustainability Within a Capitalist System?
Thursday, October 1st 4:00-6:00
Dana Building, room 1040
4:00-5:00: Dr. Paul Robbins, Professor and Director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will give a public lecture on “Coffee, Frogs, and Workers: Conservation in India during the Anthropocene”.
5:15-6:00: The talk will be followed by a faculty panel moderated by Dr. Joshua Newell (SNRE, UM), featuring Dr. Paul Robbins, Dr. Arun Agrawal (SNRE, UM),Dr. Andrew Hoffman (Ross School of Business, UM), and Dr. Sarah Moore (Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison).
Dr. Sarah Moore will also be giving a lecture on “Tracking Trans-national Hazardous Waste Trading: Methodological Problems and Partial Solutions” on Friday, October 2nd from 2:30-4:00 in Dana 1040 on as part of the CSS Forum.
UPDATE: For a more in depth review of different conceptualizations of urban resilience and an inclusive definition check out my paper that has now been published in Landscape and Urban Planning “Defining Urban Resilience: A Review”. You can access the full article here.
My name is Sara Meerow and I am a PhD candidate and member of the Urban Sustainability Research Group. I am very interested in the notion of resilience, and since I focus on cities, I’m particularly concerned with urban resilience.The concept of resilience has become increasingly popular and is being applied in a wide variety of policy and academic contexts. It seems that the word “resilience” is cropping up everywhere in publications, research centers, and conferences. There’s the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities campaign, the UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient initiative, and ICLEI’s annual Resilient Cities conference.
It feels like suddenly everyone is focused on becoming more resilient. The idea of resilience has in fact become so popular that some have argued that it represents a new paradigm that may replace sustainability. As James Cascio wrote in his 2009 Foreign Policy article “Resilience: The Next Big Thing”:
Sustainability is a seemingly laudable goal — it tells us we need to live within our means, whether economic, ecological, or political — but it’s insufficient for uncertain times. How can we live within our means when those very means can change, swiftly and unexpectedly, beneath us? We need a new paradigm. As we look ahead, we need to strive for an environment, and a civilization, able to handle unexpected changes without threatening to collapse. Such a world would be more than simply sustainable; it would be regenerative and diverse, relying on the capacity not only to absorb shocks like the popped housing bubble or rising sea levels, but to evolve with them. In a word, it would be resilient.
This quote gets to the core of what differentiates a resilience approach from more traditional sustainability focus. Resilience assumes that change is unavoidable, and instead of aiming to sustain the status quo, tries to improve the underlying ability of individuals, communities, or systems to withstand disturbances and to reorganize and adapt as a result of these changes. The simplest conception of resilience is to picture a rubber band, which can easily bounce back from a disruption.
Urban resilience applies this same notion specifically to cities. The rising popularity of urban resilience is fed by growing concerns about urban transformations (whether from rapid growth or shrinking), increasing incidences of natural disasters, and uncertainty about the future (economy, climate change, etc.). Regardless of the reason, there can be no denying that “resilience” has become a buzzword. What is less clear is how resilience can actually be defined, operationalized or assessed, and whether there are tradeoffs and limitations with adopting this approach.
This is a very brief introduction to, and gross oversimplification of, the concept of urban resilience. In my future research I will be exploring this concept in much more detail.