On February 20, 2018, Professors Hamil Pearsall and Christina Rosan organized a one-day conference at Temple University titled “Urban Futures: Green, Sustainable, Just?” The event brought together researchers, students, and practitioners from across the greater Philadelphia region to explore how ‘urban environments’ and ‘green urban environments’ are understood, governed, and experienced under different political formations, cultural and socio-economic contexts, and historical moments and what it means for the future of cities and the people who live in them. This event was co-funded by the Global Studies Program, the Department of Geography and Urban Studies, and the Center for Sustainable Communities at Temple.
Dr. Isabelle Anguelovski, Director of the Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona gave a thought-provoking keynote that questioned whether urban greening creates enclaves of privilege in communities in the Global North and Global South. Two sessions of research talks covered the class and race-based dimensions of climate change, urban greening and agriculture, economic revitalization, solidarity economy, and ecosystem services from different disciplinary perspectives, including Anthropology, Biology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Political Science and Sociology. The speakers hailed from Temple, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Ursinus College, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore. A panel session, comprised of seven faculty from Temple, the University of Delaware, Montclair State, Drexel, Rowan, and Georgetown, discussed issues of equity in urban greening and the future of urban greening research. Questions from the audience led to a lively discussion of challenges in communication across disciplinary boundaries and academic, professional, and community groups.
The final session of the day was an open discussion among speakers and participants to identify ways to build a network of scholars and practitioners to catalyze new research directions on urban environmental research in international and globalizing contexts.
Image Caption: Dr. Isabelle Anguelovski gives the keynote address “Urban greening in the global North and South: Green cities for all or enclaves of environmental privilege?”