ArticlePDF Available

Contesting and Resisting Environmental Gentrification: Responses to New Paradoxes and Challenges for Urban Environmental Justice



This paper analyzes environmental gentrification (EG), or the exclusion, marginalization, and displacement of long-term residents associated with sustainability planning or green developments and amenities, such as smart growth, public park renovations, and healthy food stores. We consider how activists, communities, and urban planners address these unjust processes and outcomes associated with EG and how these strategies compare to those used by environmental justice (EJ) activists. Our evaluation of relevant literature indicates several similarities with EJ resistance tactics, including collective neighborhood action, community organizing, and direct tactics. We also identify several different strategies enabled by certain urban environmental conditions, such as leveraging environmental policies and taking an active role in neighborhood redevelopment planning processes, collaborating with 'gentrifiers,' and creating complementary policies to manage displacement and exclusion. Our analysis indicates a need for more research on how activists can better assert the social and political dimensions of sustainability and their right to the city, and how green and sustainable cities can achieve justice and equity.
Contesting and Resisting Environmental
Gentrification: Responses to New Paradoxes
and Challenges for Urban Environmental
by Hamil Pearsall and Isabelle Anguelovski
Temple University; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Sociological Research Online, 21 (3), 6
DOI: 10.5153/sro.3979
Received: 22 Mar 2016 | Accepted: 30 May 2016 | Published: 31 Aug 2016
This paper analyzes environmental gentrification (EG), or the exclusion, marginalization, and displacement of long-term residents
associated with sustainability planning or green developments and amenities, such as smart growth, public park renovations, and
healthy food stores. We consider how activists, communities, and urban planners address these unjust processes and outcomes
associated with EG and how these strategies compare to those used by environmental justice (EJ) activists. Our evaluation of relevant
literature indicates several similarities with EJ resistance tactics, including collective neighborhood action, community organizing, and
direct tactics. We also identify several different strategies enabled by certain urban environmental conditions, such as leveraging
environmental policies and taking an active role in neighborhood redevelopment planning processes, collaborating with 'gentrifiers,' and
creating complementary policies to manage displacement and exclusion. Our analysis indicates a need for more research on how
activists can better assert the social and political dimensions of sustainability and their right to the city, and how green and sustainable
cities can achieve justice and equity.
Keywords: Environmental Gentrification, Urban Environmental Justice, Sustainability,
Despite the promise of sustainability to deliver the tripartite goal of economic growth, environmental
quality, and social justice (Brundtland 1987), numerous studies have demonstrated that economic endeavors
tend to dominate sustainability efforts, reinforce existing power relations, and deliver little to the marginalized and
vulnerable populations who would benefit the most from a sustainable future - and who have long fought for
increased access to environmental goods and services (Agyeman and Evans 2004; Sze 2006; Pearsall et al.
2012). These dynamics of exclusion often take place in the context of municipal sustainability planning and
interventions, which are featured as a prominent component of and new opportunity for urban economic
development. For instance, the City of New York released PlaNYC in 2007 as a comprehensive sustainability
plan to facilitate population and economic growth. The City of Chicago features Sustainable Chicago 2015 as a
way to create a city that 'spends less on energy use with each passing year, creates good-paying jobs in up-and-
coming industries, responsibly maintains and upgrades its infrastructure, and ensures every Chicagoan has the
opportunity to live a healthy and active lifestyle' (City of Chicago 2013, no pagination). This language invokes the
metaphor that "a rising tide lifts all boats,' yet there is a trend of inequality that marginalizes and displaces
vulnerable communities to make way for 'smart growth,' 'green space,' and other environmental amenities
(Dooling 2009; Quastel 2009; Krueger and Gibbs 2008).
Environmental gentrification (EG), also called ecological gentrification (Dooling 2009) and green
8 1 27/08/2016
gentrification (Gould and Lewis 2012), characterized by the implementation of environmental or sustainability
initiatives that leads to the exclusion, marginalization, and displacement of economically marginalized residents,
has been documented in cities across North America, Europe, and Asia (Quastel 2009; Pearsall 2010; Gould and
Lewis 2012; Tretter 2013; Checker 2011; Sandberg 2014; Schuetze and Chelleri 2015; Anguelovski 2015a). The
'environmental' rent gap is central to the process of EG (Bryson 2013). In urban environments, environmental
contamination depresses property values - up to 45% - through the inherent undesirability of living on or near a
polluted site (Bryson 2013), and property values rise again following environmental remediation (Gamper-
Rabindran et al. 2011). Further, throughout the US site clean-up has been associated with increases in mean
household income and percentages of college-educated residents (Gamper-Rabindran and Timmins 2011). While
not all environmental cleanups create gentrification (Eckerd 2011), gentrification may occur in parallel with clean-
up activities, requiring planners to be attentive to socio-spatial impacts and land use conflicts (Abel and White
2011). Most recently, gentrification has also been linked to what Anguelovski (2015) has labeled 'green locally
unwanted land uses' (LULUs), such as green space creation (Checker 2011), park restoration projects (Gould
and Lewis 2012), bike lane infrastructure (Lugo 2015), smart growth development (Quastel 2009; Tretter 2013),
and the opening of 'healthy' food stores (Anguelovski 2015a).
Opposition to urban environmental improvements seems contradictory, particularly when it comes from
the long-time residents who have withstood the presence of contamination and lack of environmental amenities
for decades – in other words, those who have been affected by environmental injustice (Lerner 2010; Sze 2006;
Mohai et al. 2009). Recently, residents, community members, and social justice advocates have become
concerned about EG processes that threaten to displace long-term residents, exclude them from the
development process, or subsume planning decisions into market-based greenwashing or competitive city
language. Residents, community members, and activists have opposed these EG catalysts and pressures using
multiple strategies that challenge the presumed status quo of EG. In this paper, we ask: How are activists and
urban planners starting to address new forms of inequities for historically marginalized residents, and how do
their strategies compare to those used in environmental justice (EJ) campaigns? Anguelovski's (2015b) recent
examination of tactics employed by EJ activists identifies multiple strategies, including coalition building,
collective neighborhood action, community organizing, and direct or confrontational tactics, such as lawsuits or
direct denunciations (i.e. of violations of environmental protection laws). Based on our analysis of literature
published on EG since 2006, we find efforts to critique, contest, and resist EG have some overlap with EJ
strategies, including collective neighborhood action, community organizing, and direct tactics. However, we also
find a number of different strategies, such as leveraging environmental regulations and policies and taking an
active role in neighborhood planning processes, collaborating with 'gentrifiers,' and advocating for complementary
policy schemes. Below, we compare these strategies with EJ efforts. Our evaluation of strategies contributes to
research on resistance to EG and highlights the unique aspects of resistance that are enabled once urban
environmental amenities and residents of neighborhoods where they are located become a central part of
gentrification processes.
Overlapping EG and EJ resistance strategies and tactics
Reflecting the kinds of neighborhood collective action techniques used in EJ activism to promote local
participation in neighborhood revitalization (Manzo and Perkins 2006; Saegert et al. 2002; Crisp 2013), EG
activists and residents around the world have rallied together to participate in official city planning processes to
voice their opinions and challenge redevelopment initiatives that are inconsistent with community needs. They
attempt to influence the outcome of planning processes linked to environmental clean-up, restoration, or/and
ecological projects to make them more equitable. For instance, key stakeholders spoke out against a proposed
Green Corridor, to be included in part of Seoul's Urban Renaissance Master Plan, because of its top-down
approach, inattention to traditional small-scale urbanization patterns in Asia, and potential for gentrification
impacts (Schuetze and Chelleri 2015). During discussions of the Superfund designation of the Gowanus Canal in
Brooklyn, NY, many community groups and residents participated in extensive planning meetings to show their
support for the designation, despite the potential for the stigma associated with living near one of the most
contaminated sites in the U.S., because of the funding and institutional support that came with the remediation of
the polluted waterway (Pearsall 2013). In Austin, Texas environmental justice activists opposed the city's Smart
Growth plan, successfully, by reframing the plan as creating environmental inequalities (Tretter 2013). Meaningful
community engagement has been highlighted as a key component of redevelopment measures (Lubitow et al.
2015). While participation in bureaucratic channels provides one avenue for formally registering community
concerns, some groups have found that their participation does not have a meaningful impact on the outcome
(Rosan 2012), particularly given disproportionate power dynamics within low-income and minority communities,
and may only result in a brief aside that there was opposition to the project. Also, as Checker (2014) notes, this 2 27/08/2016
type of sustained participation can be time-consuming and resource-intensive for activists and residents - and
create more burden for socially vulnerable residents.
Like EJ activists, EG efforts have also extended the capacity of collective action through complementary
efforts of community organizing that include community-based organizations (Scally 2012; Von Hoffman 2004;
Williams 1985). In the case of EG, such organizations play an active role in building community wealth and
alternative development and training schemes for vulnerable residents so that they are able to continue living in
and affording the cost of living in their neighborhoods. One example is 'sustainable community development
without displacement' schemes, through which long-term residents take control over community resources and
develop small industrial development projects in their neighborhood. Recent research in Boston, MA reveals the
creation of new types of business models that associate job creation and training, sustained income generation
for long-term residents, and EJ (Anguelovski et al. forthcoming). New partnerships between nonprofits, small
businesses, and residents are facilitating the creation of integrated food networks by bringing together food
growers, food processors, retails, restaurants, small waste management companies, and community land trusts.
Through a partnership called the Dudley Real Food Hub (DRFH), community members work together to address
complex development issues, increase access to affordable land and fresh produce, provide healthier
restaurants, offer healthier school food, reuse vacant lots for growing food, develop community-owned food
businesses and jobs, and help create new business ventures around food waste collection, management, and
recycling. This case study illustrates residents using local environmental assets to build a new community-based
industrial base and to ensure economic development opportunities for families living in the neighborhood and
under pressures of gentrification.
Beyond official channels, EG activists and coalitions of residents have also engaged in direct tactics,
similar to those employed by EJ activists (Bandy and Smith 2005; Pellow 2001; Pellow 2007), in an effort to put
pressure on government agencies and corporations. In Vancouver, opponents to the city's EcoDensity plan held
protests and wrote letters to the editor in local media to voice their concerns about the lack of affordable housing
and livability aspects of the plan. Though the bill ultimately passed, Rosol (2012) notes that it was contentious
and that there was weak support. In response to a proposed Whole Foods grocery store in Boston, some
residents created a coalition called 'Whose Food, Whose Community' and engaged in a series of protest actions
to share their opposition, including hanging banners, posting comments in newspapers and online forums, and
organizing town hall meetings against the opening of this 'healthy' food store (Anguelovski 2015a). These efforts
to raise awareness of community concerns did not stop the opening of Whole Foods; however, arguably, they
created greater visibility of the social and racial impacts associated with healthy food store siting. Food justice
advocates are increasingly aware of the potential of such stores for attracting new residents and their impact on
real estate prices (Cadji and Alkon 2014; Anguelovski 2016).
Differing EG and EJ resistance strategies and tactics
This section outlines three EG strategies that differ from those used in EJ activism, as they are enabled
by the intertwined processes of gentrification and urban environmental change: leveraging environmental policies
and participating in neighborhood redevelopment planning, collaborating with 'gentrifiers,' and utilizing
complementary policy schemes. While EJ activists have used scientific studies to motivate public agencies and
corporations to respond (Corburn 2005), EG activists have found ways to successfully leverage environmental
policies and regulations to oppose inequitable socio-economic and environmental impacts. For instance, the
addition of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) was a contentious
issue that polarized the community around the issue of neighborhood redevelopment (Pearsall 2013). Opponents
argued that it would slow the redevelopment of the long-abandoned brownfields along the banks. Supporters
argued that it would allow for a thorough remediation and a formalized mechanism for ongoing community
involvement in redevelopment. Ultimately, the state of New York declared the site sufficiently toxic for the
designation. While the designation may have slowed the pace of gentrification in the area, Pearsall (2013)
concludes that it may not change the future of redevelopment in the area. In Sweden, city ecologists were also
able to use an environmental policy to improve public access to a new urban park in Malmö (Sandberg 2014),
initially established as a scenic-only amenity for condominium owners situated along the perimeter of the park. By
discovering unique flora and fauna, city ecologists advocated for the park to become a nature reserve with
greater accessibility. These examples demonstrate that certain urban environmental features serve as driver of
gentrification, yet they have policy implications that may help activists realize more equitable outcomes.
While some EG activists have used confrontational tactics, others have pursued a collaborative
approach with environmental and urban planners, public officials, and local industries. A strategy coined 'Just
Green Enough' (Curran and Hamilton 2012) involves the development of a partnership between the 'gentrifiers' 3 27/08/2016
and long-time residents to remediate and redevelop contaminated sites without the displacement. Curran and
Hamilton (2012) observed this process in the redevelopment of Newtown Creek, an industrial waterway that was
designated as a Superfund site in 2010, where they found a growing number of collaborative efforts to remediate
the creek and add new amenities, such as parks and a nature walk, through formal planning efforts, and to
incorporate the former industrial fabric into new economic development opportunities – rather than to eliminate
industrial activities. They find that state intervention in remediation efforts provides mechanisms for meaningful
community participation.
Finally, some EG activists have found that complementary policy schemes also provide an effective
approach to reduce displacement potential. Anti-gentrification policies might include housing trust funds to
complement community-based greening strategies with affordable housing schemes (Thompson 2015) and
specific provisions for affordable housing, all of which need to be subject to stricter regulations of real estate
development by public officials and planners (Wolch et al. 2014). In Boston, the community land trust held by the
community organization DNI has allowed residents to control investment and development over 1,300 parcels of
formerly contaminated and/or abandoned land (Anguelovski 2014). In Malmö, Sweden, Fitzgerald and Lenhart
(2015) found that Eco-Districts were not associated with gentrification because city planners had an explicit goal
to include low-to-moderate income housing in all districts. Further, the design and scale of green space may
matter. Small-scale environmental projects may have less potential to attract large scale-development (Wolch et
al. 2014), and long linear green spaces integrated with blue infrastructure and with affordable public transit
systems may make access to green space more equitable over time and space (Ngom et al. 2016).
Conclusions and next steps
Urban environmental transformations and improvements are intertwined with processes that (re)produce
social and environmental inequalities and gentrification, and these inequities are contested by EG activists. This
analysis finds that EG tactics include established strategies from the EJ movement, as well as three different
strategies that have become necessary in the context of new displacement and exclusion trends developing in
the context of EG processes. Here, the environmental aspects of urban processes create opportunities for
institutional thickness that provides additional state and policy support for socially just outcomes.
We call for more research on EG to better understand how activists oppose the a-political, post-political,
and technocratic discourse of sustainability and reassert the social and political dimensions of the sustainability
concept - and their right to the city. What does their activism mean and how is it framed in a context in which
municipal sustainability projects are presented as win-win solutions for all residents? New large-scale research
should examine whether greener cities are in reality less racially and socially equitable and assess the reality
and magnitude of displacement within and across cities. In-depth assessments are needed to compare cities and
determine which ones are more equal than others as they implement greening agendas – and for what reasons.
Only by answering these questions will we as scholars, activists, and planners be able to answer whether and
how green and healthy cities can also be just.
ABEL, T. D. and WHITE, J. (2011) 'Skewed riskscapes and gentrified inequities: Environmental exposure
disparities in Seattle, Washington', American journal of public health, Vol. 101, No. S1, p. S246-S254.
AGYEMAN, J. and EVANS, B. (2004) ''Just sustainability': the emerging discourse of environmental justice in
Britain?', The Geographical Journal, Vol. 170, No. 2, p. 155-164. [doi:10.1111/j.0016-
ANGUELOVSKI, I. (2014) Neighborhood as Refuge: Community Reconstruction, Place Remaking, and
Environmental Justice in the City: MIT Press. [doi:10.7551/mitpress/9780262026925.001.0001]
ANGUELOVSKI, I. (2015a) 'Alternative food provision conflicts in cities: Contesting food privilege, injustice, and
whiteness in Jamaica Plain, Boston', Geoforum, Vol. 58, p. 184-194.
[doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.10.014] 4 27/08/2016
ANGUELOVSKI, I. (2015b) 'Tactical developments for achieving just and sustainable neighborhoods: the role of
community-based coalitions and bottom-to-bottom networks in street, technical, and funder activism',
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Vol. 33, No. 4, p. 703-725. [doi:10.1068/c12347]
ANGUELOVSKI, I. (2016) 'Healthy Food Stores, Greenlining and Food Gentrification: Contesting New Forms of
Privilege, Displacement and Locally Unwanted Land Uses in Racially Mixed Neighborhoods',
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
ANGUELOVSKI, I., BRAND, A., CHU, E. and GOH, K. (forthcoming) 'Urban Planning, Environmental Justice,
and Green Gentrification', in CHAKRABORTY, J., HOLLIFIED, R. and WALKER, G. (editors) Handbook
of Environmental Justice. Routledge.
BANDY, J. and SMITH, J. (2005) Coalitions across borders: Transnational protest and the neoliberal order:
Rowman & Littlefield.
BRUNDTLAND, G. H. (1987) 'World Commission on Environment and Development.(1987)', Our common future,
Vol. 383.
BRYSON, J. (2013) 'The nature of gentrification', Geography Compass, Vol. 7, No. 8, p. 578-587.
AGAIN', Zavestoski, S and Agyeman, J (ads) Incomplete streets: Processes, practices and possibilities.
London. Routledge, p. 154-175.
CHECKER, M. (2011) 'Wiped out by the "greenwave": environmental gentrification and the paradoxical politics of
urban sustainability', City & Society, Vol. 23, No. 2, p. 210-229. [doi:10.1111/j.1548-744X.2011.01063.x]
CHECKER, M. (2014) 'Green is the new brown: "Old school toxics" and environmental gentrification on a New
York City Waterfront'.
CITY OF CHICAGO (2013) 'Sustainable Chicago 2015', in CITY OF CHICAGO (editor). City of Chicago,.
CORBURN, J. (2005) Street science: Community knowledge and environmental health justice: The MIT Press.
CRISP, R. (2013) ''Communities with oomph'? Exploring the potential for stronger social ties to revitalise
disadvantaged neighbourhoods', Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Vol. 31, No. 2, p.
324-339. [doi:10.1068/c11122]
CURRAN, W. and HAMILTON, T. (2012) 'Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in
Greenpoint, Brooklyn', Local Environment, Vol. 17, No. 9, p. 1027-1042.
DOOLING, S. (2009) 'Ecological gentrification: A research agenda exploring justice in the city', International
Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 621-639. [doi:10.1111/j.1468-
ECKERD, A. (2011) 'Cleaning up without clearing out? A spatial assessment of environmental gentrification',
Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 47, No. 1, p. 31-59. [doi:10.1177/1078087410379720]
FITZGERALD, J. and LENHART, J. (2015) 'Eco-districts: Can they accelerate urban climate planning?',
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, p. 0263774X15614666.
GAMPER-RABINDRAN , S., MASTROMONACO, R. and TIMMINS, C. (2011) 'Valuing the benefits of superfund
site remediation: Three approaches to measuring localized externalities'. National Bureau of Economic
Research. [doi:10.3386/w16655]
GAMPER-RABINDRAN , S. and TIMMINS, C. (2011) 'Hazardous waste cleanup, neighborhood gentrification,
and environmental justice: Evidence from restricted access census block data', The American Economic
Review, Vol. 101, No. 3, p. 620-624. [doi:10.1257/aer.101.3.620]
GOULD, K. A. and LEWIS, T. L. (2012) 'The environmental injustice of green gentrification', The World in
Brooklyn: Gentrification, Immigration, and Ethnic Politics in a Global City. Plymouth: Lexington Books, p.
113-146. 5 27/08/2016
KRUEGER, R. and GIBBS, D. (2008) ''Third wave'sustainability? Smart growth and regional development in the
USA', Regional Studies, Vol. 42, No. 9, p. 1263-1274. [doi:10.1080/00343400801968403]
LERNER, S. (2010) Sacrifice zones: the front lines of toxic chemical exposure in the United States: Mit Press.
LUBITOW, A., ZINSCHLAG, B. and ROCHESTER, N. (2015) 'Plans for pavement or for people? The politics of
bike lanes on the 'Paseo Boricua'in Chicago, Illinois', Urban Studies, p. 0042098015592823.
LUGO, A. (2015) 'Can human infrastructure combat green gentrification? Ethnographic research on bicycling in
Los Angeles and Seattle', in ISENHOUR, C., G. MCDONOGH, M. CHECKER (editor) Sustainability in
the Global City. New York: Cambridge University Press. [doi:10.1017/CBO9781139923316.021]
MANZO, L. C. and PERKINS, D. D. (2006) 'Finding common ground: The importance of place attachment to
community participation and planning', Journal of Planning Literature, Vol. 20, No. 4, p. 335-350.
MOHAI, P., PELLOW, D. and ROBERTS, J. T. (2009) 'Environmental justice', Annual Review of Environment and
Resources, Vol. 34, p. 405-430. [doi:10.1146/annurev-environ-082508-094348]
NGOM, R., GOSSELIN, P. and BLAIS, C. (2016) 'Reduction of disparities in access to green spaces: Their
geographic insertion and recreational functions matter', Applied Geography, Vol. 66, p. 35-51.
PEARSALL, H. (2010) 'From brown to green? Assessing social vulnerability to environmental gentrification in
New York City', Environment and planning. C, Government & policy, Vol. 28, No. 5, p. 872.
PEARSALL, H. (2013) 'Superfund me: a study of resistance to gentrification in New York City', Urban Studies,
Vol. 50, No. 11, p. 2293-2310. [doi:10.1177/0042098013478236]
PEARSALL, H., PIERCE, J. and KRUEGER, R. (2012) 'Whither Rio+ 20?: demanding a politics and practice of
socially just sustainability', Local Environment, Vol. 17, No. 9, p. 935-941.
PELLOW, D. N. (2001) 'Environmental justice and the political process: movements, corporations, and the state',
The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 1, p. 47-67. [doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.2001.tb02374.x]
PELLOW, D. N. (2007) Resisting global toxics: Transnational movements for environmental justice: mit Press.
QUASTEL, N. (2009) 'Political ecologies of gentrification', Urban Geography, Vol. 30, No. 7, p. 694-725.
ROSAN, C. D. (2012) 'Can PlaNYC make New York City "greener and greater" for everyone?: Sustainability
planning and the promise of environmental justice', Local Environment, Vol. 17, No. 9, p. 959-976.
SAEGERT, S., THOMPSON, J. P. and WARREN, M. R. (2002) Social capital and poor communities: Russell
Sage Foundation.
SANDBERG, L. A. (2014) 'Environmental gentrification in a post-industrial landscape: the case of the Limhamn
quarry, Malmö, Sweden', Local Environment, Vol. 19, No. 10, pp. 1068-1085.
SCALLY, C. P. (2012) 'Community development corporations, policy networks, and the rescaling of community
development advocacy', Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Vol. 30, No. 4, p. 712-
729. [doi:10.1068/c11116]
SCHUETZE, T. and CHELLERI, L. (2015) 'Urban Sustainability Versus Green-Washing—Fallacy and Reality of
Urban Regeneration in Downtown Seoul', Sustainability, Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 33. [doi:10.3390/su8010033]
SZE, J. (2006) Noxious New York: The racial politics of urban health and environmental justice: MIT Press.
THOMPSON, M. (2015) 'Between Boundaries: From Commoning and Guerrilla Gardening to Community Land
Trust Development in Liverpool', Antipode, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 1021-1042. [doi:10.1111/anti.12154] 6 27/08/2016
TRETTER, E. M. (2013) 'Contesting sustainability:'SMART growth'and the redevelopment of Austin's Eastside',
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 37, No. 1, p. 297-310. [doi:10.1111/j.1468-
VON HOFFMAN, A. (2004) House by house, block by block: the rebirth of America's urban neighborhoods:
Oxford University Press on Demand.
WILLIAMS, M. R. (1985) Neighborhood organizations: Seeds of a new urban life: Praeger Pub Text.
WOLCH, J. R., BYRNE, J. and NEWELL, J. P. (2014) 'Urban green space, public health, and environmental
justice: The challenge of making cities 'just green enough'', Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 125, p.
234-244. 7 27/08/2016
... Citizeninitiated greening projects can also lead to gentrification (Haase et al. 2017). This might invoke resistance to greening, giving rise to forms of active citizenship which challenge greening efforts (Pearsall and Anguelovski 2016). Concerning recognitive justice, it has been highlighted how homeless people, drug users, and ethnic minorities are negatively impacted or excluded by greening efforts (Kronenberg et al. 2020). ...
... It is a government's mission to ensure an equitable distribution of resources amongst the population as well as to protect nature and biodiversity, but this is not always achieved by authorities. Some active citizens are taking inequalities into account by combatting environmental injustices (Privitera et al. 2021) or representing the interests of underrepresented or disadvantaged citizens (Pearsall and Anguelovski 2016). In this way, active citizenship can also contribute toward environmental justice. ...
Full-text available
In this synthesis article, I discuss the meaning of active citizenship for European nature conservation based on an integrative study of existing literature. Four main knowledge gaps are addressed: (1) a lack of overview on the scope and characteristics of active citizenship across Europe; (2) a lack of systematic evidence on its impacts; (3) a lack of congruence in democratic debates related to active citizenship; and (4) the governance implications of active citizenship in context of these knowledge gaps. Empirical research shows that active citizenship is driven by a wide range of motivations and manifests in various forms. Although most active citizenship is small in scale, when added together all these groups of citizens have become a societal force to be reckoned with. Locally, active citizenship often provides important benefits to people and nature and also enriches the democratic system. However, active citizenship does not always align with policy frameworks and ecological networks and also leads to tensions between representative and direct forms of democracy. For these reasons, active citizenship should be considered as additive to other forms of governance in European nature conservation. In this, a polycentric and collaborative approach to green space governance can help authorities in achieving their own policy objectives while stimulating active citizenship.
... In addition to creating the space and physical resources needed for involvement, Ruano-Chamorro et al. (2022) also advocate for better interpersonal treatment of participants, such as respecting local knowledge, to generate more effective cocreation. Such practices may lead to progressive policies, better enforcement of existing regulations, and integration of diverse voices and perspectives (Pearsall & Anguelovski, 2016;Rigolon et al., 2020). Coalitions may promote urban greening initiatives that consider both environmental histories and current land uses when making decisions about greening, but often without leaving room for dissent or disagreement; this creates fabricated consensus that may converge on solutions preferred by those in power, but will ultimately be sources of conflict that challenge long-term effectiveness (Bodin & Prell, 2011). ...
Full-text available
Productive discourse regarding the role of racism and colonialism in conservation is growing but still limited. Inadequate recognition of these powerful forces has significantly impeded socially just conservation efforts. This paper integrates multiple disciplinary perspectives to discuss historical conservation practices in the United States and abroad to reveal challenges with moving beyond traditional approaches to conservation that perpetuate systemic racism and colonialism. Using urban greening (e.g., tree planting) in the United States as an example, we show how these challenges manifest as White ideals of nature, power disparities, and displacement and exclusion. We then put forth an agenda for antiracist, anticolonial urban conservation and urban greening. This agenda uses the tripartite environmental justice framework (i.e., distributional, recognition, and procedural justice) as a starting point, integrating and adapting more critical views of contemporary environmental justice to highlight specific policies and practices that can be applied to many conservation problems.
... The rest of the paper uses a systematic review of green-gentrification literature to achieve the following objectives: (1) highlight trends in the methods used to study vegetative green gentrification; (2) determine whether the methods used have been sufficient for understanding gentrification and the role of greening; and (3) provide methodological suggestions and considerations for future research. While there have been several useful reviews on segments of green gentrification (Pearsall and Anguelovski, 2016;Cole et al., 2017;Angelo, 2019;Taki et al., 2021), only one has examined trends and suggested future research pathways for the field as a whole . Our review extends and complements this latter work by providing a systematic look at how green gentrification has been studied and describing a framework for conceptualizing gentrification and the role of greening within it. ...
Full-text available
This systematic literature review identifies and critiques methodological trends in green gentrification research (focusing on studies of vegetative greening) and provides suggestions for advancing this field. Findings reveal (1) research has largely focused on U.S. case studies; (2) early work employed qualitative methods but quantitative analyses have become more common; (3) little attention has been paid to the influence of greening characteristics/functions and non-greening factors on gentrification; (4) the mechanisms through which greening leads to gentrification are not well understood, particularly on the demand side; and (5) despite being the main concern of green gentrification, displacement has not been well-documented.
... Recent research across North American and European cities shows the role played by green gentrification in a variety of health outcomes, including increased stress and anxiety, poor nutrition choices, lower sleep, and lower sense of self-worth . These combined negative impacts have left affected residents to mobilize for greater green justice while demanding of their political leaders and planners to take action (Pearsall and Anguelovski 2016) and address these combined environmental (in)justices and compounding health risks (Curran and Hamilton 2012, Anguelovski 2014. ...
Green or environmental gentrification has been shown to be directly related to residential physical and socio-cultural displacement and insecure housing conditions among socially or racially underprivileged residents, with clear related health impacts. In this context, those vulnerable groups become unable to benefit from the social, well-being, and overall health benefits of green amenities. To date, despite increasing gentrification and related civic concerns, cities in North America and Europe are still slow to respond. Siloed and reactive planning approaches to (re)development and greening generally do not include housing security and affordability provisions in ways that would be strategic and equity-driven. In this Commentary, we call for further research on the mix of policies and tools that posit multi-sectoral and de-siloed greening agendas in coordination with affordable and stable housing. We open the discussion on four justice-driven policies and tools presented in the Policy Tools for Urban Green Justice (BCNUEJ 2021) report that derives from research conducted in 40 cities, analyzing 480 interviews with key neighborhood stakeholders across Europe and North America. We also call for research that identifies how urban policy developments and anti-gentrification and anti-displacement strategies can be combined with inclusive greening tools to build healthy, green cities for all.
... Hence, priority should be given to areas with highest proportion of vulnerable groups (Gill et al., 2007). Interestingly though, the implementation of green infrastructure to rehabilitate degraded neighbourhoods and, thus, improve wellbeing and environmental justice can have the opposite result, i.e., the increase of the value of land, increase in cost of living and, as an eventual result, displacement of the existing community Pearsall and Anguelovski, 2016;De Sousa Silva et al., 2018). Hence, the concept of "just green enough" emerged; the idea is that neighbourhoods of low environmental quality are improved, but not to the point where gentrification takes place . ...
Full-text available
Contribute to fill the gap in environmental inequalities studies by presenting empirical research that focuses on the Global South. In our view, this gap perpetuates a limited understanding of the relationship between urban greening, unequal and uneven development, and growth, which includes the provision of ecosystem services and social equity.Book that contains 11 articles and an editorial on issues assoiated to Green Gntrification and Environmental Inequalities in Cities in the Global South.
... It is well-established that the impacts of climate change are poised to disproportionately impact groups of people that have less adaptive capacity and have contributed the least to the problem, and this is also true within cities (Schlosberg and Collins, 2014;Anguelovski et al., 2019;Rice et al., 2020). Similarly, climate change adaptation action at the local level, much like climate impacts, has the potential to reinforce uneven risk exposure and socio-economic vulnerability across groups within a community (Caulfield, 1994;Smith, 2005;Dooling, 2009;Quastel, 2009;Pearsall and Anguelovski, 2016). ...
Full-text available
The topic of climate gentrification has been receiving increasing attention in both peer-reviewed literature and in popular discourse. Climate gentrification refers to the ways that climate impacts and adaptations may contribute to changes in community characteristics and potential displacement of vulnerable residents through changes in property values. Here, we conduct a review of the current literature on climate gentrification in order to understand methods and key themes, identify research gaps, and guide future research. Our search yielded a total of 12 relevant articles, beginning in 2018. After reviewing these articles, we identified several key methodological gaps including the lack of participatory methods, limited availability of longitudinal data, difficulty defining and measuring displacement, and challenges surrounding causality. We suggest that future work on climate gentrification should draw from Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS) theory to further understand the complex feedbacks that exist in climate gentrification dynamics. To guide future research, we propose a framework as a CHAN that highlights the multi-spatial, multi-temporal, and multi-faceted dimensions of climate gentrification.
The research paper provides an assessment of spatial differences of vulnerability levels for the population Moscow to possible natural and man-made hazards, taking into account the actual population size and aspects of its intraday spatial movement. In addition to official statistical sources, we used data of mobile operators, which made it possible to characterize the localization of subscribers at a certain point in time with the maximal degree of reliability. Thus, it helped us to significantly correct and clarify the current concepts of the population in Moscow. According to the cluster analysis’ results, the potentially most vulnerable areas of Moscow were identified, and grouped into six types. The cluster analysis and typology were based on the characteristics of the density of the existing population, the regime of population fluctuations and the deviation of population indicators from the data of official statistics. In order to man-made risk assessment consideration of sanitary protection zones (SPZ) of industrial and utility facilities of the city have been added to the idea of the population vulnerability. The results of the study show the inconsistency of existing approaches to risk assessment based on official social statistics. The paper also first presents the typology of urban areas of Moscow, which sheds light on the main features of its spatial structure in the context of potential vulnerability of citizens to natural and man-made emergencies.
Ever since the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul in the summer 2013, defending and reclaiming the city parks, market gardens, public squares, and urban forests has become a mainstream act of defiance and a symbolic rejection of an intensifying authoritarianism, neoliberal urbanism, and exclusionary planning practices. Growing interest in the mobilizing capacity of the emerging urban-environmental imaginary, however, has not remained exclusive to the opposition. Rather than dismissing the critique entirely, the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) has most recently embraced the politics of urban greenery and strived to mold it in its own image. This article focuses on the contentious politics of urban greenery in Istanbul and examines how the city's green public spaces have come to proxy a larger struggle over the future of Turkey. By discussing the possibilities, challenges, and limits of the politics of urban greenery, this article examines how the government has attempted to absorb an emerging urban-environmental objection into its fold. To do so, the article traces the genealogy of Istanbul's park politics in the last decade and most specifically focuses on the latest iteration of the urban greenery frenzy: the Gardens of the Nation. By studying how this nationwide urban greenery drive has been designed, promoted, discussed, inaugurated, and used, this article provides an account for the critical role green aesthetics play in conjuring up alternative environmental imaginaries and communities against the backdrop of a populist authoritarian climate.
The climate change debate is finding new expressions through political protests and demonstrations, during which a plurality of climate narratives emerges. While protests such as Extinction Rebellion have had a strong physical manifestation, involving many people showing up in concrete locations, they have also been facilitated and mediated virtually. In this paper, we examine the spectacle generated when divergent discourses on climate change compete for attention in spaces that are simultaneously urban and virtual. The paper is based on empirical evidence from events surrounding London Fashion Week 2019, focusing on the political mobilization by Extinction Rebellion Boycott Fashion (XRBF) and other groups. Discussing this changing nature of urban protest spectacle, we point to the emergence of an ‘amplified public space’ shaped at the intersection of material and virtual spaces of the city. Both the fashion industry and XRBF employ techniques of spectacle in their strategies to advance their respective climate change and sustainability narratives. We argue that XRBF, in particular, has managed to influence the climate change debate by strategically staging spectacular protest events that are both facilitated and played out in virtual space.
Full-text available
Local activists engaged in contemporary environmental justice struggles not only fight against traditional forms of hazardous locally unwanted land uses (LULUs), they also organize to make their neighborhoods livable and green. However, urban environmental justice activism is at a crossroads: as marginalized neighborhoods become revitalized, outside investors start to value them again and they themselves invest in green amenities. Yet vulnerable residents are now raising concerns about the risk of displacement from their neighborhoods in consequence of environmental gentrification processes. Their fear is linked to environmental amenities such as new parks or remodeled waterfronts, as well as (most recently) healthy food stores. Using the case of a conflict around a new Whole Foods supermarket in Boston, MA, I examine how food venues and stores labeled as healthy and natural can create socio-spatial inequality together with privilege, exclusion and displacement in racially diverse neighborhoods. I analyze how high-end supermarket chains target inner-city neighborhoods for their growth and profit potential, and demonstrate that their arrival contributes to what I call ‘supermarket greenlining'. This greenlining illustrates the process of food gentrification, and the manipulation of health and sustainability discourses about food by healthy and natural food investors and their supporters. The opening of high-end supermarkets thus converts such stores into new LULUs for historically marginalized groups.
Full-text available
This paper examines the planning paradigm shift related to the contested “urban renaissance” mega-project in Downtown Seoul (Korea). Similar to other global cities, over the last few decades, different mega-projects have been successfully implemented in Seoul. These projects have been considered engines for urban renewals and transformation. This paper builds on the analysis of the failure and re-framing planning strategy for the Green Corridor (GC) mega-project, part of the “Urban Renaissance Master Plan for Downtown Seoul”. The GC case reveals various critical insights for urban sustainability: (i) the current mega-projects’ sustainability fallacy, related to top-down, technocratic densification, and greening practices; and (ii) the untapped potential of Asian traditional and irregular small scale urban patterns, and their related socio-cultural value in addressing the renaissance of the long term urban sustainability. In particular, the discussed research findings point out that urban renaissance enabling sustainability principles requires integrated, small scale, incremental, and adaptive (stepwise) urban planning and design processes that go well beyond general strategies following the so-called “green growth” paradigm Free Download of abstract and full paper at:
Between March and June 2012, I interviewed nine leaders in Seattle’s communities of color to find out their perspectives on bicycling. One question asked them about bike infrastructure in their neighborhoods and whether they would like the city to install more. In my notes from those interviews, I recorded the following responses: There’s no infrastructure, but the neighborhood streets still work for biking. More infrastructure would be great. He doesn’t see bike lanes in Rainier Valley, but he does see them in northern parts of the city. More bike lanes wouldn’t create more bike users. He thinks of bike lanes as a way to get somewhere else, to pass through rather than spend time in a neighborhood. She thinks the current focus on bicycling started with Mayor Mike McGinn. There’s a bike lane in her neighborhood, but she doesn’t think kids should bike in the city. There is a new bike lane at 51st and Renton near her home, and she is not far from Lake Washington Boulevard [a popular route for recreational cycling that skirts the lake]. No. Ideally there would be some, but there are not enough people biking now.