Handbook of Cities and the Environment
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Handbook of Cities and the Environment

Edited by Kevin Archer and Kris Bezdecny

With an ever-growing majority of the world's human population living in city spaces, the relationship between cities and nature will be one of the key environmental issues of the 21st Century. This book brings together a diverse set of authors to explore the various aspects of this relationship both theoretically and empirically. Rather than considering cities as wholly separate from nature, a running theme throughout the book is that cities, and city dwellers, should be characterized as intrinsic in the creation of specifically urban-generated ‘socio-natures’.
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Chapter 18: Sustainability and the city

Timothy W. Luke


The notion of “sustainability” remains a conflicted concept in many fields of human activity, especially with the subtle semantic shifts now unfolding in this idea as connotations of “renewability” drift toward those tied to “resilience.” The roots of the struggle for sustainability began in the rhetorical battles and political struggles to ensure renewable natural resources could flow to cities without compromising the condition of those from whom the resources were extracted and the life chances of future generations. The reimagination of sustainability since the early 1970s, however, in today’s discourses of securitization and stabilization has pushed this term into different realms of application, which are more corporate, statist, and elitist. This chapter reconsiders the relationships of urban spaces to the political conflicts and contradictions now interwoven into sustainability policies.

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