Urban Sustainabilities I: interrogating ‘smart’ and ‘eco’ urbanism(s)
‘Smart’ cities and ‘eco-cities’ are increasingly being packaged as ‘solutions’ to the demand for urban sustainability. This session aims to critically engage with the increasingly dominant, pervasive and hegemonic discourses and paradigms around proposals which place ‘eco’ and ‘smart’ at the forefront of conceptual and policy approaches to the sustainable city in the contemporary urban context. While the following session – Urban Sustainabilities II (see below) – delves deeper into the actually existing iterations of ‘eco’ and ‘smart’ urbanism, this session focuses more closely on these ideas as increasingly central to discourses and strategies focused on making the city ‘sustainable’.
We encourage papers focusing on a critical analysis of urban sustainability from a wide range of theoretical, conceptual and empirical perspectives. Although the session is focused on debating the underpinnings of urban sustainability discourses and ideals, we also encourage contributions that focus on geographically-specific settings and paradigms.
Topics may include, but are not limited, to, the following:
- Smart cities;
- Analysing and debating the ‘meanings’ and ‘signifiers’ involved in sustainable urbanism;
- ‘Sustainable urbanism’ paradigms in specific regional or national geographies;
- Sustainable urbanism and the post-political;
- Theoretical approaches to urban sustainability with a focus on ‘eco’ and ‘smart’
- Neoliberal sustainable urbanism;
- Social sustainability in the eco-city/smart city;
- New and existing inequalities in the eco-city/smart city.
Urban sustainabilities II: interrogating sustainable urban designs
In light of the environmental malaise affecting contemporary cities, urban design has recently emerged as a leading medium to achieve sustainability on an urban scale.
There is a substantial body of evidence indicating the correlations between the design of cities and their environmental impact. The concept of sustainable urban design rejects the Modernist fracture between nature and the city, and embraces the idea of cities shaped to be in balance with natural environments.
In practice, the proliferation of theories of sustainable urban design has led to the production of a number of heterogeneous urban projects characterized by the absence of a common denominator. Examples of sustainable urban design include low-tech approaches to urbanization such as compact cities, green infrastructure and bioregionalism, as well as high-tech solutions redolent of the smart city philosophy.
This section aims to add empirical and theoretical richness to the understanding of sustainable urban design by examining and evaluating practices and theories of sustainability-focused urban design from across the world.
Papers in this session are encouraged to focus on specific cases and projects, and to employ either individual case studies as a basis for discussion, or a comparative approach if preferred. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Smart cities
- Green architecture and infrastructure
- Bioregional architecture and planning
- Urban regeneration