Form and Flow
The Spatial Politics of Urban Resilience and Climate Justice
An examination of urban climate change response strategies and the resistance to them by grassroots activists and social movements.
Cities around the world are formulating plans to respond to climate change and adapt to its impact. Often, marginalized urban residents resist these plans, offering “counterplans” to protest unjust and exclusionary actions. In this book, Kian Goh examines climate change response strategies in three cities—New York, Jakarta, and Rotterdam—and the mobilization of community groups to fight the perceived injustices and oversights of these plans. Looking through the lenses of urban design and socioecological spatial politics, Goh reveals how contested visions of the future city are produced and gain power.
Goh describes, on the one hand, a growing global network of urban environmental planning organizations intertwined with capitalist urban development, and, on the other, social movements that themselves often harness the power of networks. She explores such initiatives as Rebuild By Design in New York, the Giant Sea Wall plan in Jakarta, and Rotterdam Climate Proof, and discovers competing narratives, including community resiliency in Brooklyn and grassroots activism in the informal “kampungs” of Jakarta. Drawing on participatory fieldwork and her own background in architecture and urban design, Goh offers both theoretical explanations and practical planning and design strategies. She reframes the critical concerns of urban climate change responses, presenting a sociospatial typology of urban adaptation and considering the notion of a “just” resilience. Finally, she proposes a theoretical framework for designing equitable and just urban climate futures.
“Goh provides a fresh perspective on what is needed to achieve a more just and resilient urban future. A must-read for urban climate scholars and practitioners.”
Karen Seto, Professor, Yale University; Coordinating Lead Author of the Urban Mitigation Chapter, IPCC 5th and 6th Assessment Reports
“Bringing critically important new insights into the politics of climate urbanism, Goh shows how historically uneven development and global interconnections between cities shape struggles over climate just urban futures.”
Harriet Bulkeley, Professor, Durham University and Utrecht University
“In Form and Flow Kian Goh explores urban environmental futures as a series of intersecting fields of contestation and intervention unfolding at a variety of spatial scales. Her comparative global framework advances the field of political ecology in innovative directions.”
Matthew Gandy, Professor, University of Cambridge; author of The Fabric of Space and Natura Urbana
“Goh's erudite narrative is precautionary, prophetic, and poetic. Mingling the currents of tenuous design, evolving global networks, and climate power plays, Goh lets loose the dams.”
Carlos Martín, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
“A timely contribution to the field... Form and Flow contributes to a better understanding of the visions of urban futures developed in response to climate change.”
Landscape Architecture Magazine
“A great look into the near future for these three cities—New York City, Rotterdam, and Jakarta—and a warning to other cities.”
“This book beautifully renders visible the connections and tensions between high-profile, expert oriented climate initiatives and on-the-ground, situated activist visions for more just urban futures under climate change.”