Tag Archives: green cities

Call for papers – The Country and the City

Call for papers – The Country and the City: Connecting People and Their Places in Environmental History


Beijing, Renmin University of China


May 29-June 1, 2014

Deadline for proposals

January 01, 2014

An international conference co-sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, and the Center for Ecological History, Renmin University of China.

Do rural people live in harmony with each other and with nature? Are urban people alienated from the land and exploitative in their ecological behavior? These questions point to cultural myths that have persisted across time and space, from ancient China to modern Africa. This conference seeks to scrutinize such cultural perceptions, in the spirit of famed British cultural critic Raymond Williams, and at the same time examine the material connections that have long bound rural and urban habitats together. We are especially interested in comparative studies that cross national boundaries, in papers that bring neglected parts of the world into view, and in perspectives that extend back in time before the twentieth century.

We seek papers on such topics as the cultural views of nature on the farm and in the city; the production of food and its export to the city; the disposal of urban wastes in the countryside; vectors of disease; the links forged by trade, capital, and the state among the various places, big and small, where people make their living; urban-rural conflicts over the meaning and practice of conservation; “green” cities and “eco villages”; and the city as habitat for nonhuman species.

This conference is open to all ranks and all scholars, from graduate students to senior professors. Paper proposals should be one-page long (or about 300 words) and include a title and a one- or two-page CV. The deadline for consideration is 1 January 2014.

Send proposals in Chinese or English to all of the conference organizers:

  • Mingfeng Xia
  • Christof Mauch
  • Donald Worster

See the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München for more information

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Nantes, European Green capital 2013

green capitalThis year, the city of Nantes is the European green capital. This middle-size French city on the Atlantic coast has been granted this distinction in recognition for its environmental commitment.

Every year, since 2010, a new European green capital is chosen by an international jury.  Their decision is based on several criteria, such as air pollution, transport or waste management.

So, after Vitoria, Spain in 2012, Nantes is now the new green capital of Europe.

There are several initiatives that helped Nantes receive this award. One of the more interesting ones involves increasing access to urban green spaces: every inhabitant must have access to an urban green space located less than 300 meters from his/her home. Nantes successfully met this challenge. Other measures concern, for example, water consumption per inhabitant or the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

To celebrate this award, Nantes has organised several events, including a number of conferences. This is a unique opportunity for Nantes to become more visible, improve its image and attract investors and companies.

Some may feel this award is simply anecdotic, and is basically a marketing tool. However, it could also have the effect of encouraging other cities to emulate Nantes and to adopt greener practices.

To continue this initiative, it will be necessary to keep the jury – made up of academics and private consultants – independent of external influences, so as not to undermine the event’s impact. We would suggest that social societies should also be associated with this event.

The same kind of award should be organized in China. Yes, there are already many Chinese cities that are labeled as green cities. But one of the strengths of the European Green city award is the fact that there are different, verifiable indicators used to select the winner. In order to be “green”, cities first need to be “transparent”.

Nantes European Green Capital official website

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

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