Greening Post-Industrial Cities: Growth, Equity, and Environmental Governance, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Greening Post-Industrial Cities

Growth, Equity, and Environmental Governance, 1st Edition

By Corina McKendry


254 pages

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Hardback: 9781138776135
pub: 2017-09-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315773407
pub: 2017-09-22
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City greening has been heralded for contributing to environmental governance and critiqued for exacerbating displacement and inequality. 

Bringing these two disparate analyses into conversation, this book offers a comparative understanding of how tensions between growth, environmental protection, and social equity are playing out in practice. Examining Chicago, USA, Birmingham, UK, and Vancouver, Canada, McKendry argues that city greening efforts were closely connected to processes of post-industrial branding in the neoliberal economy. While this brought some benefits, concerns about the unequal distribution of these benefits and greening’s limited environmental impact challenged its legitimacy. In response, city leaders have moved toward initiatives that strive to better address environmental effectiveness and social equity while still spurring growth. Through an analysis that highlights how different varieties of liberal environmentalism are manifested in each case, this book illustrates that cities, though constrained by inconsistent political will and broader political and economic contexts, are making contributions to more effective, socially just environmental governance.

Both critical and hopeful, McKendry’s work will interest scholars of city greening, environmental governance, and comparative urban politics.


'Can the world’s cities save Earth’s environment? As international environmentalism becomes ever more sclerotic, growing numbers of cities across the world are proclaiming their sustainability bona fides through programs and projects rooted in what Corina McKendry calls "green urban entrepreneurialism." But are these programs any more than green window dressing, designed to attract trendy, upscale people? Dr McKendry looks closely into three world cities—Chicago, Vancouver and Birmingham, UK—to assess whether Being Green is more than just another cliché and finds that it does mean something. This extraordinary book should be read widely by students, scholars and citizens who want to make a difference within their cities as well as across the world as a whole.'Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Professor of Politics, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

'By using comparative methodology, McKendry sets this book apart from most books on cities, which tend to be monographs. With rich, comparative data this book illuminates the similarities and differences of efforts to green cities in a multinational context. Moreover, McKendry produces a highly productive typology of "liberal environmentalisms" that give us a new conceptual tool to understand the contested political project of urban sustainability.'Nik Janos, Assistant Professor, California State University, Chico, USA

'Greening Post-Industrial Cities advances our understanding of cities in global environmental governance by placing the urban greening and environmental justice literatures into conversation and exploring how "varieties of liberal environmentalism" have played out in different urban contexts. With healthy skepticism and hopeful pragmatism, McKendry helps us imagine cities as sites for creating a more equitable and sustainable future.'Michele M. Betsill, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University, USA

'Analysts and practitioners alike have long recognized that cities are major actors in, and arenas of, global governance. By their nature they are internally complex, diverse and contested. In order to better understand them, therefore, we need theoretically informed empirical studies that capture city dynamics across time rather than at any one turning point. Corina McKendry’s book contributes profoundly to the study of cities by providing an empirically fine-grained comparison of the greening of three important cities, based on a compelling theoretical scheme that will inform and influence future research on urban politics and global governance.'—Dimitris Stevis, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University, USA

Table of Contents

1. Local Politics of Global Environmental Governance

2. From Keynesianism to Liberal Environmentalism

3. Greening the Post-Industrial City

4. Beyond Green Urban Entrepreneurialism

5. Energy and Climate Justice

6. Green Urban Development

7. Environmental Amenities

8. Conclusion – Cities and the Challenge of Environmental Governance

Postface: Green Cities in an Uncertain Moment


About the Author


Corina McKendry

Colorado Springs, CO, United States

Learn more about Corina McKendry >>

Corina McKendry is Associate Professor of Political Science and core faculty of the Environmental Program at Colorado College.

About the Series

Cities and Global Governance

Scholarly concern over the role of cities as sites for global governance and the organization of global activities has increased substantially over the past 25 years. The partial denationalization of global politics has been accompanied by the increasing importance of non-state and sub-national state actors, including municipal governments. It has further resulted in the rising significance of cities as sites in and for global governance. Cities serve as platforms for scale-jumping—the movement of organizations and issues across scalar boundaries—locales for networking, and sites for the convergence of disparate global ideologies. Global actors, by concentrating in cities, take advantage of propinquity and the dense networks available in the urban landscape to organize their activities, and in doing so, also establish certain cities as "nodes" in their global networks. At the same time, global ideologies are expressed in urban landscapes and global politics takes concrete form in cities.

Because of these developments, scholars of global affairs have expressed increasing interest in the presence and influence of the city in global governance. This series will feature unique perspectives on theoretical and empirical issues in the relationship between cities and global governance. The series will serve as a platform to theorize previously undertheorized aspects of the relationship, to challenge conventional wisdom in the field, and to offer new empirical analysis of the role of cities as sites and actors in global governance as well as the role of global governance on the ground in cities. Each volume will make a distinct contribution to one or more of these questions. Volumes may take various conceptual and methodological approaches. Some will study cases, others will examine networks; some will have a regional focus, others will have a global focus; some will be focused on cities as they intersect with particular issues in global governance.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • African, Asian, and/or Latin American cities in networks of global governance
  • Case studies of the roles of various cities in global governance
  • Cities and climate change
  • Cities and disaster governance
  • Cities and global environmental governance
  • Cities as sites of emergent conflicts between governance regimes
  • Cities, security, and global governance
  • Global cities/capital cities: Urbanism and the apparatus of state-based governance
  • Municipal foreign policy
  • "Power" and "the urban" in global governance
  • The role of data collection and "city indicators" in global governance
  • The role of transnational actors in shaping local landscapes
  • "Super-global" cities
  • Transnational municipal networks in global governance
  • The urbanization of global politics

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Local
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy