Just Green Enough: Urban Development and Environmental Gentrification, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Just Green Enough

Urban Development and Environmental Gentrification, 1st Edition

Edited by Winifred Curran, Trina Hamilton


248 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

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While global urban development increasingly takes on the mantle of sustainability and "green urbanism," both the ecological and equity impacts of these developments are often overlooked. One result is what has been called environmental gentrification, a process in which environmental improvements lead to increased property values and the displacement of long-term residents. The specter of environmental gentrification is now at the forefront of urban debates about how to accomplish environmental improvements without massive displacement.

In this context, the editors of this volume identified a strategy called "just green enough" based on field work in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, that uncouples environmental cleanup from high-end residential and commercial development. A "just green enough" strategy focuses explicitly on social justice and environmental goals as defined by local communities, those people who have been most negatively affected by environmental disamenities, with the goal of keeping them in place to enjoy any environmental improvements. It is not about short-changing communities, but about challenging the veneer of green that accompanies many projects with questionable ecological and social justice impacts, and looking for alternative, sometimes surprising, forms of greening such as creating green spaces and ecological regeneration within protected industrial zones. 

Just Green Enough is a theoretically rigorous, practical, global, and accessible volume exploring, through varied case studies, the complexities of environmental improvement in an era of gentrification as global urban policy. It is ideal for use as a textbook at both undergraduate and graduate levels in urban planning, urban studies, urban geography, and sustainability programs.


"Hamilton and Curran’s concept of ‘Just Green Enough’ has become a rallying cry for academics and activists trying to decouple environmental clean-up from high-end residential and commercial development. The cases in this timely and excellent book illuminate this goal, offering us hope for a transition toward more just sustainabilities."Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University

"This is an essential book demonstrating the need for a new ecological, political, and social imagination to place interactional, reparative, distributional, and participative justice at the center of green city planning. Only through transformative green planning and creative lasting alliances will green interventions be public goods rather than environmental privileges."Isabelle Anguelovski, ICREA Research Professor and Director, Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

"In 2012, Curran and Hamilton came up with ‘Just Green Enough,’ a welcome vision for environmentally-minded urban development that foregrounded social justice and equity. Six years later, the concept’s originators bring us this provocative look at the pitfalls and promises of JGE strategies, offering both sobering assessments and hopeful ways forward."Melissa Checker, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Psychology, the CUNY Graduate Center

"As cities across the world are ‘going green’ through revitalization projects geared toward resilience and sustainability, they struggle with a major challenge: avoiding displacement and disenfranchisement associated with gentrification. This refreshing, provocative volume brings together leading scholars who dare to move beyond critique, by exploring and proposing strategies and solutions."Ryan Holifield, Associate Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"Just Green Enough brings passion, imagination, along with some redemption to the sustainable development paradox. With a global reach, the book’s contributors eruditely reveal important insights and examples of diverse social relations that engender positive urban environmental change. A must read for students concerned with progressive social change."Robert Krueger, Director, Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Table of Contents







Just Green Enough in Transition

    1. Just Green Enough: Contesting Environmental Gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
    2. Winifred Curran and Trina Hamilton

    3. A just enough green? Industrial gentrification and competing socionatures in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
    4. Winifred Curran and Trina Hamilton

    5. Making Just Green Enough advocacy resilient: Diverse economies, ecosystem engineers and livelihood strategies for low-carbon futures
    6. Sarah Dooling

    7. Just Transition and Just-Green-Enough: Climate justice, economic development and community resilience
    8. Julie Sze and Elizabeth Yeampierre


      Green Displacements and Community Identity

    9. Greening the waterfront? Submerging history, finding risk
    10. Pamela Stern and Peter V Hall

    11. Alternative food and gentrification: Farmers’ markets, community gardens and the transformation of urban neighborhoods
    12. Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando Bosco

    13. The production of green: Gentrification and social change 
    14. Jessica Ty Miller


      State-led Environmental Gentrification

    15. Environmental gentrification in Metropolitan Seoul: The case of greenbelt deregulation and development at Misa Riverside City
    16. Jay E. Bowen

    17. Displacement as disaster relief: Environmental gentrification and state informality in developing Chennai
    18. Priti Narayan

    19. Fixing sustainability: Social contestation and re-regulation in Vancouver’s housing system
    20. Noah Quastel


      Mobilizing and Planning for Just, Green Futures

    21. Mobilizing community identity to imagine just green enough futures: A Chicago case study
    22. Leslie Kern

    23. Bring on the Yuppies and the Guppies! Green gentrification, environmental justice, and the politics of place in Frogtown, L.A.
    24. Esther Kim

    25. The contested future of Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct: Blight, neighborhood amenity, or global attraction?
    26. Hamil Pearsall

    27. Informal urban green space as anti-gentrification strategy?
    28. Christoph D. D. Rupprecht and Jason A. Byrne

    29. Patient Capital and Reframing Value: Making New Urbanism Just Green Enough

Dan Trudeau


About the Editors

Winifred Curran is an Associate Professor of Geography at DePaul University, USA.

Trina Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB), USA.

About the Series

Routledge Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City series

This series positions equity and justice as central elements of the transition toward sustainable cities. The series introduces critical perspectives and new approaches to the practice and theory of urban planning and policy that ask how the world's cities can become ‘greener’ while becoming more fair, equitable and just.

Routledge Equity Justice and the Sustainable City series addresses sustainable city trends in the global North and South and investigates them for their potential to ensure a transition to urban sustainability that is equitable and just for all. These trends include municipal climate action plans; resource scarcity as tipping points into a vortex of urban dysfunction; inclusive urbanization; "complete streets" as a tool for realizing more "livable cities"; the use of information and analytics toward the creation of "smart cities".

The series welcomes submissions for high-level cutting edge research books that push thinking about sustainability, cities, justice and equity in new directions by challenging current conceptualizations and developing new ones. The series offers theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances that can be used by professionals and as supplementary reading in courses in urban geography, urban sociology, urban policy, environment and sustainability, development studies, planning, and a wide range of academic disciplines.

To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected], twitter: @BrennanRebecca1), or the Series Editors, Julian Agyeman ([email protected], twitter: @julianagyeman) and Stephen Zavestoski ([email protected]).

Julian Agyeman, Tufts University Boston-Medford, USA

Stephen Zavestoski, University of San Francisco, USA

Editorial Advisory Board:

Dr Antwi Akom, Professor & Founding Director, Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab, University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco State University, USA

Dr Jayne Engle, Director, Cities, McConnell Foundation, Adjunct Professor, McGill University, Canada

Dr Ayona Datta, King’s College London, UK.

Dr Jenia Mukherjee, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India 

Professor Cheryl Teelucksingh, Ryerson University, Canada

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy