Sustainability Policy, Planning and Gentrification in Cities: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sustainability Policy, Planning and Gentrification in Cities

1st Edition

By Susannah Bunce


168 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-07-05
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Sustainability Policy, Planning and Gentrification in Cities explores the growing convergences between urban sustainability policy, planning practices and gentrification in cities. Via a study of governmental policy and planning initiatives and informal, community-based forms of sustainability planning, the book examines the assemblages of actors and interests that are involved in the production of sustainability policy and planning and their connection with neighbourhood-level and wider processes of environmental gentrification.

Drawing from international urban examples, policy and planning strategies that guide both the implementation of urban intensification and the planning of new sustainable communities are considered. Such strategies include the production of urban green spaces and other environmental amenities through public and private sector and civil society involvement. The resulting production of exclusionary spaces and displacement in cities is problematic and underlines the paradoxical associations between sustainability and gentrified urban development. Contemporary examples of sustainability policy and planning initiatives are identified as ways by which environmental practices increasingly factor into both official and informal rationales and enactments of social exclusion, eviction and displacement. The book further considers the capacity for progressive sustainability policy and planning practices, via community-based efforts, to dismantle exclusion and displacement and encourage social and environmental equity and justice in urban sustainability approaches.

This is a timely book for researchers and students in urban studies, environmental studies and geography with a particular interest in the growing presence of environmental gentrification in cities.


"Sustainability Policy, Planning and Gentrification in Cities demonstrates how assemblages of social actors intending to create more environmentally sustainable cities also reproduce inequitable cities. The uncritical replication of urban intensification and sustainable master planning approaches has lead to the spread of environmental gentrification globally. While plans may promise social justice, when they hit the ground, private for-profit interests trump public-minded goals. Even well-meaning gentrifiers with progressive sustainability ideologies contribute to social displacement. Bunce suggests that a shift toward de-growth and de-commodification discourses and actions may be the best way to promote just sustainability."Kenneth A. Gould and Tammy L. Lewis, authors of Green Gentrification: Urban Sustainability and the Struggle for Environmental Justice

"Sustainability Policy, Planning and Gentrification in Cities is a pointed and cogent analysis of contemporary trends in urban environmental gentrification. It offers insightful -- but rarely discussed -- critiques of sustainability master plans and the aesthetics and preferences of today's urban hipsters."Melissa Checker, Associate Professor, PhD Programs in Anthropology and Environmental Psychology, The CUNY Graduate Center

Table of Contents

List of Images


Introduction: Sustainability Policy, Planning, and Gentrification in Cities

Chapter 1: Convergences of Urban Sustainability Policy, Planning, and Gentrification

Chapter 2: Sustainable Master Planning and Gentrification

Chapter 3: Sustainability, Urban Lifestyles, and Gentrification

Chapter 4: Searching for Equity and Justice in Sustainability in the Gentrifying City

Conclusion: Future Directions for Resisting Gentrification


About the Author

Susannah Bunce is Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Geography at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, Canada.

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 (, twitter: @BrennanRebecca1), or the Series Editors, Julian Agyeman (, twitter: @julianagyeman) and Stephen Zavestoski (

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
NATURE / Ecology
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy