The opening chapter of this book makes the intellectual and political argument for a more critical understanding of seawater desalination as an emerging phenomenon of water governance. Its purpose, in this sense, is to politicise seawater. The chapter provides an overview of the historic and contemporary development of desalting technologies and the global desalination industry. We argue that, rather than seeing desalination as a water management ‘solution’, it should instead be understood as a socio-technical and political ecological ‘fix’, which allows cities, regions and countries to overcome some of the hydrological barriers to growth and accumulation, while creating or intensifying other social and ecological contradictions. These contradictions, we demonstrate, revolve around the governance of water, privatisation and commercialisation, the water-energy nexus, and marine ecology. Finally, we summarise the substantive chapters included in the book.
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Joe Williams and Erik Swyngedouw
Justin Alger and Peter Dauvergne
Following the rapid growth in scholarship in global environmental politics since the 1990s, it is time for a reinvigorated research agenda in the field. This chapter outlines the current state of global environmental politics research through the lenses of global political economy, international institutions and nonstate governance, ecological crisis, climate politics, and scholar activism and engaged research. By identifying gaps and emerging issues, it distills a research agenda for current and future scholars of global environmental politics. There is, in particular, a growing need for research that: (a) more closely connects social phenomena to global environmental impacts and change; and (b) asks more innovative and expansive questions rather than filling niches on issues with already extensive scholarship. As it is a relatively new field that seeks to address an escalating global environmental crisis, there is still plenty of room for emerging scholars of global environmental politics to ask big questions.
Duncan French and Louis J. Kotzé
This chapter provides the context, a broad introduction and the essence of each of the chapters in the book.
Marina van Geenhuizen, J. Adam Holbrook and Mozhdeh Taheri
This chapter presents the theme, theoretical approaches and overview of the chapters in the book. The theme is the contribution of cities (their actors) to increased sustainability in social-technical systems, eventually by accelerating sustainability improvements. The selected systems are energy, transport and healthcare. Cities may act as the cradle of key inventions, as places of up-scaling and commercialization and as places of quick adoption, though few individual cities take up all these roles. Next, several urban innovation theories are introduced, including agglomeration and cluster theories, and the relational (collaboration) approach, with the aim to ‘position’ the chapters. Specific attention is given to the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. Complementary approaches are institutional and governance perspectives, in particular with respect to cities acting as institutional innovators. A final approach is the evolutionary approach, as invention, up-scaling, commercialization and adoption of new technology are concerned with long time-lines and manifold uncertainties.
Daniel R. Montello
This chapter introduces and overviews the field of behavioral and cognitive geography. Behavioral and cognitive geography is the study of human mind and activity in and concerning space, place, and environment. The field relates to many subfields of human geography, cartography, and geographic information science (GIScience). It is also fundamentally multi- and interdisciplinary, connecting primarily to various subfields of research psychology, but also to economics, linguistics, computer science, architecture and planning, anthropology, neuroscience, and more. It originated as a contrast to aggregate approaches to human geography that treat people as more or less interchangeable within groups and homogeneous in their responses; to models of human activity based on simplistic and psychologically implausible assumptions; and to conceptualizations of humans as passive responders to culture, social institutions, economic forces, and the physical environment. The chapter concludes with an overview of the Handbook that it introduces.
In recent years, the Arctic region has reappeared as a centre of world politics and attracted the interest of stakeholders from within and outside the circumpolar North. The region is literally melting and the term ‘Arctic geopolitics’ has become a popular catchphrase to illustrate the Arctic’s status quo and its allegedly fluid future. During that time the European Union also discovered its Northern neighbourhood. Concerned about an unstable Arctic region and related spill-over effects reaching Europe, the EU has shown considerable interest in having a determining influence on future regional developments. It envisioned an Arctic future alongside its own conceptualisation of world order, rule of law and good governance.