Urban sustainability and the technopolitics of order

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Urban sustainability and the technopolitics of order

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The core question that drives this dissertation is how do questions of social justice fit within agendas of sustainability? My approach is situated between two very different literatures on sustainability. The first, based in urban planning, seeks to move forward the agenda of urban sustainability. It looks to identify what works and to distill and package that best practice to be replicated in other cities around the country and the world. The second literature is one that has emerged in critical geography that sees sustainability as a policy agenda that supports the needs of a capitalist political economy, which will, in the end, amplify rather than solve the world's environmental and social problems. I argue that neither approach is properly attentive to the way that sustainability produces differential sets of capacities and limitations. In order to adequately address these, I argue that it is helpful to conceptualize sustainability as a system of socio-spatial ordering. When sustainability is adopted as a goal for a city, it begins to reshape the priorities of that city, the kinds of spaces and land-uses that occur in the city, and the types of activities that are valued and allowed in that city. It is through the analysis of the production of the socio-spatial order that we glimpse the array of possibilities and foreclosures, the inclusions and exclusions that are enabled by a sustainability agenda. Empirically, the dissertation focuses on the City of Minneapolis and its pursuit of sustainability. It explores the indicator program that defines sustainability in Minneapolis, Homegrown Minneapolis, a city program meant to build a local food economy and the City's engagement with climate change and the implications of this for sustainability.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major: Geography. Advisor: Vinay Gidwani. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 232 pages, appendices p. 223-232.

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Bialostosky, Ivan Julius. (2013). Urban sustainability and the technopolitics of order. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/155574.

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