The MIT Press

Urban and Industrial Environments

Robert Gottlieb

Published by: The MIT Press

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Urban and Industrial Environments

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Changing Lanes

Visions and Histories of Urban Freeways

Joseph F.C. DiMento and Cliff Ellis

The story of the evolution of the urban freeway, the competing visions that informed it, and the emerging alternatives for more sustainable urban transportation.

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Fighting King Coal

The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia

Shannon Elizabeth Bell

In the coal-mining region of Central Appalachia, mountaintop-removal mining and coal-industry-related flooding, water contamination, and illness have led to the emergence of a grassroots, women-driven environmental justice movement. But the number of local activists is small relative to the affected population, and recruiting movement participants from within the region is an ongoing challenge.  In Fighting King Coal, Shannon Elizabeth Bell examines an understudied puzzle within social movement theory: why so few of the many people who suffer from industry-produced environmental hazards and pollution rise up to participate in social movements aimed at bringing about social justice and industry accountability. Using the coal-mining region of Central Appalachia as a case study, Bell investigates the challenges of micromobilization through in-depth interviews, participant observation, content analysis, geospatial viewshed analysis, and an eight-month “Photovoice” project—an innovative means of studying, in real time, the social dynamics affecting activist involvement in the region. Although the Photovoice participants took striking photographs and wrote movingly about the environmental destruction caused by coal production, only a few became activists. Bell reveals the importance of local identities to the success or failure of local recruitment efforts in social movement struggles, ultimately arguing that, if the local identities of environmental justice movements are lost, the movements may also lose their power.

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Fracking the Neighborhood

Reluctant Activists and Natural Gas Drilling

Jessica Smartt Gullion

What happens when natural gas drilling moves into an urban area: how communities in North Texas responded to the environmental and health threats of fracking.

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The Global Cities

Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China

Robert Gottlieb

Over the past four decades, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and key urban regions of China have emerged as global cities -- in financial, political, cultural, environmental, and demographic terms. In this book, Robert Gottlieb and Simon Ng trace the global emergence of these urban areas and compare their responses to a set of six urban environmental issues. These cities have different patterns of development: Los Angeles has been the quintessential horizontal city, the capital of sprawl; Hong Kong is dense and vertical; China's new megacities in the Pearl River Delta, created by an explosion in industrial development and a vast migration from rural to urban areas, combine the vertical and the horizontal. All three have experienced major environmental changes in a relatively short period of time. Gottlieb and Ng document how each has dealt with challenges posed by ports and the movement of goods, air pollution (Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and urban China are all notorious for their hazardous air quality), water supply (all three places are dependent on massive transfers of water) and water quality, the food system (from seed to table), transportation, and public and private space. Finally they discuss the possibility of change brought about by policy initiatives and social movements.

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Good Green Jobs in a Global Economy

Making and Keeping New Industries in the United States

David J. Hess

An examination of the politics of green jobs that foresees a potential ideological shift away from neoliberalism toward “developmentalism.”

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Histories of the Dustheap

Waste, Material Cultures, Social Justice

Edited by Stephanie Foote and Elizabeth Mazzolini

An examination of how garbage reveals the relationships between the global and the local, the economic and the ecological, and the historical and the contemporary.

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Hybrid Nature

Sewage Treatment and the Contradictions of the Industrial Ecosystem

Daniel Schneider

A history of of the industrial ecosystem that focuses on the biological sewage treatment plant as an early example.

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Rail and the City

Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint While Reimagining Urban Space

Roxanne Warren

The United States has evolved into a nation of twenty densely populated megaregions. Yet despite the environmental advantages of urban density, urban sprawl and reliance on the private car still set the pattern for most new development. Cars guzzle not only gas but also space, as massive acreage is dedicated to roadways and parking. Even more pressing, the replication of this pattern throughout the fast-developing world makes it doubtful that we will achieve the reductions in carbon emissions needed to avoid climate catastrophe. In Rail and the City, architect Roxanne Warren makes the case for compact urban development that is supported by rail transit. Calling the automobile a relic of the twentieth century, Warren envisions a release from the tyrannies of traffic congestion, petroleum dependence, and an oppressively paved environment. Technical features of rail are key to its high capacities, safety at high speeds, and compactness -- uniquely qualifying it to serve as ideal infrastructure within and between cities. Ultimately, mobility could be achieved through extensive networks of public transit, particularly rail, supplemented by buses, cycling, walking, car-sharing, and small, flexible vehicles. High-speed rail, fed by local transit, could eliminate the need for petroleum-intensive plane trips of less than 500 miles.Warren considers issues of access to transit, citing examples from Europe, Japan, and North America, and pedestrian- and transit-oriented urban design. Rail transit, she argues, is the essential infrastructure for a fluidly functioning urban society.

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Recycling Reconsidered

The Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action in the United States

Samantha MacBride

How the success and popularity of recycling has diverted attention from the steep environmental costs of manufacturing the goods we consume and discard.

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Resigned Activism

Living with Pollution in Rural China

Anna Lora-Wainwright

Residents of rapidly industrializing rural areas in China live with pollution every day. Villagers drink obviously tainted water and breathe visibly dirty air, afflicted by a variety of ailments -- from arthritis to nosebleeds -- that they ascribe to the effects of industrial pollution. "Cancer villages," village-sized clusters of high cancer incidence, have emerged as a political and cultural phenomenon. In Resigned Activism, Anna Lora-Wainwright explores the daily grind of living with pollution in rural China and the varying forms of activism that develop in response. She finds that claims of health or environmental damage are politically sensitive, and that efforts to seek redress are frustrated by limited access to scientific evidence, growing socioeconomic inequalities, and complex local realities. Villagers, feeling powerless, often come to accept pollution as part of the environment; their activism is tempered by their resignation.Lora-Wainwright uses the term "resigned activism" as a lens through which to view villagers' perceptions and the diverse forms of environmental engagement that result. These range from picketing at the factory gate to quieter individual or family-oriented actions. Drawing on her own extensive fieldwork, Lora-Wainwright offers three case studies of "resigned activism" in rural China, examining the experiences of villagers who live with the effects of phosphorous mining and fertilizer production, lead and zinc mining, and electronic waste processing. These cases make clear the staggering human costs of development and the deeply uneven distribution of costs and benefits that underlie China's economic power.

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