Designing urban sustainability

Environmental justice in EU-funded projects

Authored by: Ian M. Cook , Tamara Steger

The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of the Environment

Print publication date:  October  2021
Online publication date:  October  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367410704
eBook ISBN: 9780367814533
Adobe ISBN:


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Urban sustainability initiatives in European cities generally aim to promote ecological and social well-being and nurture a competitive edge. Still, urban sustainability efforts lag behind in their attention to social equality even as urban environmental disparities continue to run deep across race, class and gender lines. The engagement of struggling communities in urban sustainability projects is thus an important aspect of redressing these disparities and promoting environmental justice. In this chapter, we identify the main participation approaches in mainly EU-funded urban sustainability projects and explore their alignment with environmental justice principles. We conclude that environmental justice principles come to the fore through integrated conceptualizations of urban sustainability manifested in participation mechanisms that nurture diversity across actors, roles, knowledge and ways of knowing and build in persistent networks that can help to transform historically embedded, institutionalized discrimination.

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