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Environment and Urban Studies

Environment and Urban Studies

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America’s aging electricity infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly even as the need for highly reliable electric service—driven by the explosion of digital technology—continues to rise. Largely missing from national discussions, however, is a coherent, comprehensive national strategy for modernizing this critical infrastructure. Energy expert Mason Willrich presents just such a strategy in this book, connecting the dots across electric utilities, independent suppliers, government bureaucracies, political jurisdictions, and academic disciplines.

Concepts are thought categories through which we apprehend the world; they enable, but also constrain, reasoning and debate and serve as building blocks for more elaborate arguments. This book traces the links between conceptual innovation in the environmental sphere and the evolution of environmental policy and discourse. It offers both a broad framework for examining the emergence, evolution, and effects of policy concepts and a detailed analysis of eleven influential environmental concepts.

The Future of the Car and Urban Mobility

The twentieth century was the century of the automobile; the twenty-first will see mobility dramatically re-envisioned. Automobiles altered cityscapes, boosted economies, and made personal mobility efficient and convenient for many. We had a century-long love affair with the car. But today, people are more attached to their smartphones than their cars. Cars are not always the quickest mode of travel in cities; and emissions from the rapidly growing number of cars threaten the planet.

Infrastructure Legibility and Governance

Waste is material information. Landfills are detailed records of everyday consumption and behavior; much of what we know about the distant past we know from discarded objects unearthed by archaeologists and interpreted by historians. And yet the systems and infrastructures that process our waste often remain opaque. In this book, Dietmar Offenhuber examines waste from the perspective of information, considering emerging practices and technologies for making waste systems legible and how the resulting datasets and visualizations shape infrastructure governance.

A Critical Introduction

The emergence of the environmental humanities as an academic discipline early in the twenty-first century reflects the growing conviction that environmental problems cannot be solved by science and technology alone. This book offers a concise overview of this new multidisciplinary field, presenting concepts, issues, current research, concrete examples, and case studies.

A New History of German Environmentalism

Germany enjoys an enviably green reputation. Environmentalists in other countries applaud its strict environmental laws, its world-class green technology firms, its phase-out of nuclear power, and its influential Green Party. Germans are proud of these achievements, and environmentalism has become part of the German national identity. In The Greenest Nation? Frank Uekötter offers an overview of the evolution of German environmentalism since the late nineteenth century.

Culture, Conflict, and Ecology

The history of the commons—jointly owned land or other resources such as fisheries or forests set aside for public use—provides a useful context for current debates over sustainability and how we can act as “good ancestors.” In this book, Derek Wall considers the commons from antiquity to the present day, as an idea, an ecological space, an economic abstraction, and a management practice. He argues that the commons should be viewed neither as a “tragedy” of mismanagement (as the biologist Garrett Hardin wrote in 1968) nor as a panacea for solving environmental problems.

The oceans are heavily overfished, and the greatest challenges to effective fisheries management are not technical but political and economic. In this book, D. G. Webster describes how the political economy of fisheries has evolved and highlights patterns that are linked to sustainable transitions in specific fisheries.

Reluctant Activists and Natural Gas Drilling

When natural gas drilling moves into an urban or a suburban neighborhood, a two-hundred-foot-high drill appears on the other side of a back yard fence and diesel trucks clog a quiet two-lane residential street. Children seem to be having more than the usual number of nosebleeds. There are so many local cases of cancer that the elementary school starts a cancer support group.

Remaking the Politics of Displacement

Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beautiful, livable cities in the United States. It has walkable neighborhoods, bike lanes, low-density housing, public transportation, and significant green space—not to mention craft-beer bars and locavore food trucks. But liberal Portland is also the whitest city in the country. This is not circumstance; the city has a long history of officially sanctioned racialized displacement that continues today.

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