The Green City and Social Injustice examines the recent urban environmental trajectory of 21 cities in Europe and North America over a 20-year period. It analyses the circumstances under which greening interventions can create a new set of inequalities for socially vulnerable residents while also failing to eliminate other environmental risks and impacts.
Based on fieldwork in ten countries and on the analysis of core planning, policy and activist documents and data, the book offers a critical view of the growing green planning orthodoxy in the Global North. It highlights the entanglements of this tenet with neoliberal municipal policies including budget cuts for community initiatives, long-term green spaces and housing for the most fragile residents; and the focus on large-scale urban redevelopment and high-end real estate investment. It also discusses hopeful experiences from cities where urban greening has long been accompanied by social equity policies or managed by community groups organizing around environmental justice goals and strategies.
The book examines how displacement and gentrification in the context of greening are not only physical but also socio-cultural, creating new forms of social erasure and trauma for vulnerable residents. Its breadth and diversity allow students, scholars and researchers to debunk the often-depoliticized branding and selling of green cities and reinsert core equity and justice issues into green city planning—a much-needed perspective. Building from this critical view, the book also shows how cities that prioritize equity in green access, in secure housing and in bold social policies can achieve both environmental and social gains for all.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Positioning Urban Green Injustices, Isabelle Anguelovski and James J. T. Connolly
Part 1 - The Social Costs of Glitzy Green Urbanism
1. Milan’s Private Vertical Forests vs. Horizontal Urban Greening, Lucia Di Paola
2. Dismantling the Just City: The Unevenness of Green Experiences in Amsterdam-Noord, Carmen Pérez del Pulgar
3. A Green Capital for All? Austerity, Inequalities and Green Space in Bristol, Austin Matheney, Carmen Pérez del Pulgar, Galia Shokry
4. Enacting a Rail-to-Park project in Valencia Parc Central or the Actual Construction of Green Gentrification, Lucía Argüelles Ramos
Part 2 - Compounded Risks and Impacts of Urban Greening in Post-industrial Environments
5. Is Cleveland’s Vision of a "Green City on a Blue Lake" a Path for Social Equity or Green Gentrification, Margarita Triguero-Mas and Wendy A. Kellogg
6. West Dallas: The "Nowhere" that Became "Somewhere", Helen Cole
7. Land Remediation in Glasgow’s East End: A ‘Sustainability Fix’ for Whose Benefit?, Melissa García-Lamarca and Neil Gray
8. A Community Fights for its Health While Battling Impending Gentrification: Bayview-Hunters Point, San Francisco, James Connolly
9. Resisting Green Gentrification: Seattle’s South Park Neighborhood Struggles for Environmental Justice, Helen Cole, Troy Abel
Part 3 - (Re)creating Unjust Racialized Landscapes in the Green City?
10. Reshaping Legacies of Green and Transit Justice through the Atlanta Beltine, Helen Cole and Daniel Immergluck
11. A New Shade of Green: From Historic Environmental Inequalities over Green Amenities to Exclusive Green Growth in Austin, James Connolly and Mateus Lira
12. The Racial Inequities of Green Gentrification in Washington, D.C., Isabelle Anguelovski, Malini Ranganathan, Derek Hyra
13. Addressing Green and Climate Gentrification in East Boston, Galia Shokry and Isabelle Anguelovski
Part 4 - The Complex Entanglement of Greening and Multiple Other Gentrification Pressures
14. Ordinary and Extraordinary Greening: Tensions amidst Saint-Henri, Montréal’s Development Boom, Melissa García-Lamarca and Aaron Vansintjan
15. Environmental Inequities in Fast-growing Dublin: Combined Scarcity of Green Space and Affordable Housing for The Liberties, Isabelle Anguelovski, Panagiota Kotsila, Dave Moore, Mick Lennon, Isabelle Anguelovski, Panagiota Kotsila, Dave Moore, Mick Lennon
16. Barcelona’s Greening Paradox as an Emerging Global City and Tourism Destination, Panagiota Kotsila, Emilia Oscilowicz, Filka Sekulova, Margarita Triguero-Mas, Jordi Honey-Rosés, Isabelle Anguelovski
17. Competing Riskscapes of Climate Change, Gentrification and Adaptation in Philadelphia’s Hunting Park Neighborhood, Galia Shokry
Part 5 - (Fragile) Green Justice Victories and Grey Zones in the Just Green City
18. A Green, Livable Copenhagen in the Shadow of Racializing, Neoliberalizing Politics, Rebecca L. Rutt
19. Will ‘Extraordinary Gardens’ and Social Housing Ensure Nantes is Green and Affordable for All?, Francesc Baró and Isabelle Anguelovski
20. Prioritizing Green and Social Goals: The Progressive Vienna Model in Jeopardy, Carmen Pérez del Pulgar
21. Can Community Mobilization be Inclusive of the Black Community in its Fight Against Green Gentrification?, Margarita Triguero-Mas, Mario Fontán-Vela and Taliah Dommerholt
22. Enacting Just Urban Green Futures: Promising Policy and Planning Tools and Regulations for Europe and North America, Emilia Oscilowicz, Sarka Hajtmarova, Isabelle Anguelovski
Conclusion - A New Tale for the Green City?, James J.T. Connolly, Isabelle Anguelovski, Melissa García-Lamarca, Emilia Oscilowicz
Isabelle Anguelovski is the director of Barcelona Laboratory for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (B.C.N.U.E.J.) and an I.C.R.E.A. Research Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Her research examines the processes and dynamics behind urban environmental (in)justices in the Global North and South.
James J. T. Connolly is codirector and affiliated researcher of Barcelona Laboratory for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (B.C.N.U.E.J.) and Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. His research examines how cities are made greener and more socially just.
"Based on comparative case studies, this important addition to the literature on environmental justice exposes the conflicts arising from plans for ecological improvements. The authors address how the seemingly positive effect of producing green amenities in low-income neighborhoods often leads to displacement of residents. They show how neoliberal competition for creative industries contributes to injustice, which its progenitors rationalize as producing generally desirable benefits to the urban landscape. They also describe ways by which mobilized, working-class citizens can confront the forces of gentrification while also bringing about improvements in their neighborhoods. Bringing together careful analyses of greening efforts in 21 European and North American cities, this book points to the variety of greening policies and their consequences for spatial equity."
Susan S. Fainstein, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Author, The Just City
"As sustainable urbanism gathers pace, a troubling question arises – is greening the city doing more harm than good? This book cuts to the heart of the issue, drawing on stories of urban sustainability and its potential injustices from around the world. Together, these cases demonstrate the vital importance of facing the uncomfortable truth that urban sustainability can lead to widening social inequalities and gives us the means to start ensuring that we are building just transitions."
Harriet Bulkeley, Professor of Geography, Durham University
"This impressive, international comparison of 21 cases of urban greening systematically illustrates the social costs of glitzy green urbanism, the compounded impacts of urban greening in post-industrial environments, the re-creation of unjust racialized landscapes, the complexities of intertwining gentrification processes, and green justice victories. This is essential reading for activists and scholars interested in creating a new tale for urban greening that incorporates all people’s rights to a healthy environment."
Professor Kenneth A. Gould and Professor Tammy L. Lewis, Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, City University of New York