Urbane Ethiken

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Comparative Urban Environmentalisms: Space, Time and Scale

Julie Sze, University of California, Davis

This talk situates discourses, social movements and policies that shape urban sustainability initiatives and practices using comparative global city and spatial justice frameworks. Specifically, this talk explores how environmental projects construct new consumerist citizen-identities, destabilize old conflations of race and place, and interweave urban and rural landscapes in new forms that are not well-understood. I argue that the environmental turn in global urbanism is an unstable and deeply contested terrain of differential notions of space, place and time. Drawing on research in New York City, the Central Valley region of California, and Shanghai, I suggest that politics and ethical actions in contemporary urban and spatial contexts and at future-oriented scales in response to climate change collide in uncomfortable and often spectacular ways.

Julie Sze is a Professor and the Director of American Studies at UC Davis. She is also the founding director of the Environmental Justice Project for UC Davis’ John Muir Institute for the Environment, and in that capacity is the Faculty Advisor for 25 Stories from the Central Valley.