Rethinking Urban Transitions provides critical insight for societal and policy debates about the potential and limits of low carbon urbanism. It draws on over a decade of international research, undertaken by scholars across multiple disciplines concerned with analysing and shaping urban sustainability transitions. It seeks to open up the possibility of a new generation of urban low carbon transition research, which foregrounds the importance of political, geographical and developmental context in shaping the possibilities for a low carbon urban future.
The book’s contributions propose an interpretation of urban low carbon transitions as primarily social, political and developmental processes. Rather than being primarily technical efforts aimed at measuring and mitigating greenhouse gases, the low carbon transition requires a shift in the mode and politics of urban development. The book argues that moving towards this model requires rethinking what it means to design, practise and mobilize low carbon in the city, while also acknowledging the presence of multiple and contested developmental pathways. Key to this shift is thinking about transitions, not solely as technical, infrastructural or systemic shifts, but also as a way of thinking about collective futures, societal development and governing modes – a recognition of the political and contested nature of low carbon urbanism. The various contributions provide novel conceptual frameworks as well as empirically rich cases through which we can begin to interrogate the relevance of socio-economic, political and developmental dimensions in the making or unmaking of low carbon in the city. The book draws on a diverse range of examples (including ‘world cities’ and ‘ordinary cities’) from North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Africa, India and China, to provide evidence that expectations, aspirations and plans to undertake purposive socio-technical transitions are both emerging and encountering resistance in different urban contexts.
Rethinking Urban Transitions is an essential text for courses concerned with cities, climate change and environmental issues in sociology, politics, urban studies, planning, environmental studies, geography and the built environment.
List of contributors
Andrés Luque-Ayala, Simon Marvin and Harriet Bulkeley
Andrés Luque-Ayala, Harriet Bulkeley and Simon Marvin
Part I: Technologies, materialities, infrastructures
Tim Moss and Maria Francesch-Huidobro
Mike Hodson, Simon Marvin and Andy McMeekin
Part II: Intermediation and governance
Susie Moloney and Ralph Horne
Jonathan Silver and Simon Marvin
Part III: Communities and subjectivities
Robyn Dowling, Pauline McGuirk and Harriet Bulkeley
Matthew Paterson and Merissa Mueller
Simon Marvin, Andrés Luque-Ayala and Harriet Bulkeley