An Introduction to



Recommended journal articles per chapter for “Introduction to Sustainability” by Martin Mulligan

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Chapter 1

  1. Bourke, Simon and Tony Meppem, 2000, ‘Privileged Narratives and Fictions of Consent in Environmental Discourses’, Local Environment 17(5), pp 299-310.

    A range of popular terms and words have become part of the way in which environmental concerns are discussed globally.  This paper focuses on the ambiguous use of terms such as ‘sustainability’, ‘community’, ‘globalisation’, ‘diversity’, ‘democracy’ and even the word ‘environment’ itself. This links to the chapter’s concern about the emergence of ‘weasel words’.

Chapter 2

  1. Otto-Zimmermann, Konrad, 2012, ‘From Rio to Rio+20: the changing role of local governments in the context of current global governance’, Local Environment 17(5), pp 511-516.

    This paper is in a special edition published in the lead-up to the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. Given the difficulties experienced in finding new forms of global governance that can meet the challenges of global sustainability, the paper suggests, rather paradoxically, that attention needs to focus on the world’s cities and their local governments.

  2. Agyeman, Julian, Robert D. Bullard and Bob Evans, 2002, ‘Exploring the Nexus: Bringing Together Sustainability, Environmental Justice and Equity’, Space and Polity 6(1), pp 77-90.

    The 1987 Brundtland Report popularised the idea that global environmental degradation can only be reversed if progress is also made on reducing poverty and created greater social equity. This paper looks at attempts that have been made to bring together the two ‘traditions’ that have focused separately on environmental wellbeing and social ‘justice’; giving rise to the concept of ‘environmental justice.’

  3. Al Doyali, Sarah and Leo Wangler, 2013, ‘International Climate Policy: Does it matter? An empirical study,’ Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy 2(3), pp 288-302.

    In examining the impact of the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emission reductions, this paper reaches the surprising conclusion that expectations about the need to reduce emissions have had more influence on policy that the processes of treaty ratification.

Chapter 3

  1. Jackson, Tim, 2008, ‘Where is the “wellbeing dividend”? Nature, structure and consumption inequalities,’ Local Environment 13(8), pp 703-723.

    In this paper, a leading scholar on consumption and sustainability, Tim Jackson, examines the paradox that increasing levels of income and consumption across Europe have coincided with a decline in subjective feelings of wellbeing. This opens up the possibility for reducing consumption without compromising wellbeing, but first we need to understand the reasons for growth in levels of consumption, the author argues.

  2. Hargreaves, Tom, Michael Nye and Jacquelin Burgess, 2008, ‘Social experiments in sustainable consumption: an evidence-based approach with potential for engaging low-income communities,’ Local Environment 13(8), pp 743-758.

    This paper examines efforts made in the UK to reduce waste and electricity consumption by people living in low-income communities. It teases out some principles for working with low-income communities in ways that are sensitive to their needs.

  3. Parker, Gavin, 1999, ‘The role of consumer-citizens in environmental protest in the 1990s,’ Space and Polity 3(1), pp 67-84.

    This paper focuses on the growth in interest in the UK in the 1990s in the power of consumer action to bring about more sustainable production of goods and services. While such ‘market-based activism’ can have significant awareness-raising benefits for individual consumers, the paper argues, there is no evidence to suggest that it results in lasting changes to production and distribution. According to Parker, there continues to be an important role for the state in regulating market mechanisms.

Chapter 4

  1. Dannevig, Halvor, Trude Rauken and Grete Hovelsrud, 2012, ‘Implementing adaptation to climate change at the local level,’ Local Environment 17(6-7), pp 597-611.

    This paper focuses on efforts made in eight Norwegian municipalities to implement climate change adaptation plans without significant support from the national government. The paper concludes that local government authorities can circumvent lack of action by central governments, however, the key ingredients for success are: size of the municipality, leadership by individuals within the local government authority, and effective use of external expertise.

  2. Muthoni, Joyce Waririmu and Elizabeth Edna Wangui, 2013, ‘Women and Climate Change: Strategies for Adaptive Capacity in Mwanga District, Tanzania,’ African Geographical Review 32(1), pp 59-71.

    This paper reports the results of a study conducted in the Tanzanian village of Mangio which showed that women and their social networks are critical to the ways in which the community can adapt to the onset of global climate change. This points to the need for a bottom-up, community development approach to climate change adaptation.

  3. Levin, Kelly and Brian Petersen, 2011, ‘Trade Offs in the Policy Process in Advancing Climate Change Adaptation: The Case of Australia’s Great Eastern Range Initiative,’ Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 3(2), pp 145-162.

    This paper reports on a rather bold initiative taken in Australia to cater for the needs of migrating species which are threatened by climate change impacts. While the needs of such species can only be addressed by looking at their geographic range, the Australian experience suggests the need for a very pragmatic approach to the development of protective policies.

  4. Tanzabuing, Joseph, Isaac Luginaah, Godwin Djietror and Kefa Otiso, 2012, ‘Mining, Conflicts and livelihood struggles in a dysfunctional policy environment: the case of Wassa West District, Ghana,’ African Geographical Review 31(1), pp 33-49.

    This paper reports the results of an in-depth study of people living in a district in Ghana who were displaced from the traditional farmlands to make way for mining. The paper concludes that the former farmers received very little compensation for the loss of land and there are very few signs of any ‘trickle down’ benefits from the mining operations. The paper demonstrates why economic development policies often make poverty worse rather than better.

  5. Rees, William E., 2008, ‘Human nature, eco-footprints and environmental injustice,’ Local Environment 13(8), pp 685-701.

    In this paper, one of the co-founders of the concept of ‘ecological footprints’ argues that indiscriminate support for the notion of ‘economic growth’ is taking the world into ‘eco-violence’ and ‘descent into chaos’. The planet simply cannot sustain existing levels of consumption by people living in the world’s richest nations while 40 per cent of people on the planet live in dire poverty. We need to radically rethink how we can cater for human needs in a world of growing resource scarcity, Rees argues.

Chapter 5

  1. Park, Jung Jin, 2012, ‘Fostering community energy and equal opportunities between communities,’ Local Environment 17(4), pp 387-408.

    This paper discusses a range of ‘community energy’ projects operating in the UK. It concludes that they tend to be limited to communities where there is already a high level of awareness about energy supply options and the author suggests a need for more ‘policy attention’ in order to include a much wider range of local communities in such projects.

  2. Johannes, Eliza, Leo Zulu and Ezekiel Kalipeni, 2010, ‘Oil discovery in Turkana County, Kenya: a source of conflict or development?’ African Geographical Review, DOI:10.1080/19376812.2013.878664.

    This forthcoming journal articles argues that the discovery of oil in Turkana County, Kenya, has already exacerbated inter-ethnic and cross-border conflicts because of increased competition for diminishing pasture land and water resources in the semi-arid region of the country.

  3. Chmutina, Ksenia, Graeme Sherriff and Chis I. Goodier, 2014, ‘Success in decentralised urban energy initiatives: a matter of understanding?’ Local Environment 19(5), pp 479-496.

    This paper reports on the outcomes of interviews with stakeholders in four different international case studies on initiatives to decentralise urban energy production in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The paper suggests the need for a wide array of criteria for assessing project outcomes.

  4. Colasanti, Kathryn J. A., Michael W. Hamm and Charlotte M. Litjens, 2012, ‘The City as an “Agricultural Powerhouse”? Perspectives on Expanding Urban Agriculture from Detroit, Michigan,’ Urban Geography 333(3), pp 348-36.

    In arguing for a need to shift the emphasis away from individual community gardens to city-wide urban agricultural activities, this paper reports on the outcomes of semi-structured interviews with a range of people involved in urban agriculture in Detroit. It finds widespread support for expanding urban agriculture in Detroit but warns that the concerns of opponents need to be addressed.

Chapter 6

  1. Bond, Alan, Angus Morrison-Saunders and Jenny Pope, 2012, ‘Sustainability assessment: the state of the art,’ Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 30(1), pp 53-62.

    Presented in a special edition of the journal on ‘the state of the art in impact assessment,’ this paper examines recent efforts to build upon impact assessments in order to suggest policy options into the future. Based on an assessment of pilot projects in UK, Australia, South Africa and Canada, the paper suggests that this new form of impact assessment has a bright future.

  2. Baard, Patrik, Maria Vredin Johansson, Henrik Carlsen and Karin Edvardsson Björnberg, 2012, ‘Scenarios and sustainability: tools for alleviating the gap between municipal means and responsibilities in adaptation planning,’ Local Environment 17(6-7), pp 641-662.

    This paper explores the practical application at the local government level in Sweden of ‘socio-economic scenarios’ and ‘sustainability analysis’ environmental management ‘tools’. It concludes that both tools are useful for municipal planners although they both take time to master.

Chapter 7

  1. Slootweg, Roel and Mike Jones, 2011, ‘Resilience thinking improves SEA: a discussion paper,’ Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 29(4), pp 263-276.

    The SEA in the title of this paper stands for ‘strategic environmental assessment’ which is one approach used to turn short-term impact assessments into future projections. The paper reports on the outcomes of an IAIA workshop held in 2011 which discussed ways of bringing together SEA and resilience thinking in order to factor in uncertainties and the interconnectedness of environmental systems.

  2. Tweed, Fiona and Gordon Walker, 2012, ‘Some lessons for resilience from the 2011 multi-disaster in Japan,’ Local Environment 16(9), pp 937-942.

    The combination of a devastating tsunami and consequent nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan showed how difficult it is to address vulnerability to hazards when such hazards have multiplied. In this paper, the authors suggest that resilience thinking can help to overcome a narrow focus on hazard exposure by showing that local processes are always embedded in ‘multi-scale interactions and tensions.’

  3. Levy, Jason K. and Chennat Gopalakrishnan, 2009, ‘Multicritieria Analysis for Disaster Risk Reduction in Virginia, USA,’ Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 1(3), pp 213-228.

    This paper shows how a multi-criteria risk analysis resulted in a continuation of a ban on off-shore gas and oil drilling operations in the vicinity of Virginia, USA. However, no such risk analysis has been conducted for many other oil and gas drilling operations across the planet.

  4. Gopalakrishnan, Chennat and Norio Okada, 2012, ‘Reflections in Implementation Science,’ Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 4(1), pp 79-88.

    Based on a wide-ranging review of international disaster management approaches, this paper seeks to present core principles of an ‘integrated disaster risk management’ approach, which the authors rather unhelpfully call ‘implementation science.’

Chapter 8

  1. Scheufele, Gabriela and Jeff Bennett, 2012, ‘Valuing ecosystem resilience,’ Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy 1(1), pp 18-31.

    This paper traces the evolution of thinking from protection of individual species to respect for ecosystem resilience. Using biodiversity conservation in the Border Ranges rainforests as its case study, the paper suggests that people are learning to appreciate the value of ecosystem resilience.

  2. McLain, Rebecca, Patrick T. Hurley, Maria R. Emery and Melissa R. Poe, 2014, ‘Gathering “wild” food in the city: rethinking the role of foraging in urban ecosystem planning and management,’ Local Environment 19(2), pp 220-240.

    While policy attention has focused recently on the emergence of ‘urban agriculture’ this paper suggests, rather provocatively, that policy-makers should change their rather hostile attitudes towards food foraging practices in urban environments. Suggesting that food foraging is already a ‘vibrant’ practice in Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle, the paper suggests that it has an important role to play in making cities more sustainable.

Chapter 9

  1. Barr, Stewart and Patrick Devine-Wright, 2012, ‘Resilient communities: sustainabilities in transition,’ Local Environment 17(5), pp 525-532.

    Relationships between the local and the global have changed radically in the last 30 years and these authors suggest that many local communities now experience the global as a range of economic and ecological threats. In the era of global climate change and Peak Oil, the authors argue, we need to think of local communities as being in transition and note that an ability to cope with uncertainty will make some communities more resilient than others.

  2. Drake, Luke, 2014, ‘Governmentality in Urban Food Production? Following “Community” from Intentions to Outcomes,’ Urban Geography 35(2), pp 177-196.

    Against a backdrop of criticism that community gardens represent a ‘neoliberal’ agenda for improving food security, this paper examines six different case studies in order to depict the criteria that can maximise community participation in food production.

  3. Lidskog, Rolf and Ingemar Elander, 2007, ‘Representation, Participation or Deliberation? Democratic Responses to the Environmental Challenge,’ Space and Polity 11(1), pp 75-94.

    The relatively new focus on global environmental sustainability has posed major challenges for democratic institutions and practices. This paper seeks to cut through debates about the relative merits of representative, participatory or deliberative democracy to argue that challenges such as intergenerational equity and protection of non-human species require a combination of participation and deliberation alongside a strengthening of forms of representation.

Chapter 10

  1. Lujala, Päivi, Haakon Lein and Jan Ketil Rød, 2014, ‘Climate change, natural hazards and risk perception: the role of proximity and personal experience,’ Local Environment (forthcoming) DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2014.88766.

    Focusing on experiences in Norway, this paper argues that personal experience is a major factor in the ways in which people perceive risks and natural hazards in general and climate change impacts in particular.

  2. Kurtz, Hilda E., 2005, ‘Alternative visions for citizenship practice in environmental justice disputes,’ Space and Polity 9(1), pp 77-91.

    A proposal to site a chemical production plant near a rural township in Louisiana provoked controversy in the local community. Initially divided over whether to trust institutions like the EPA or resort to vigorous protest action, the controversy raised interesting questions about personal action and citizenship.

Chapter 11

  1. Harris, Leila M., 2009, ‘Contested sustainabilities: assessing narratives of environmental change in southeastern Turkey,’ Local Environment 14(8), pp 699-720.

    The author of this paper travelled with irrigation engineers as they toured a region in Turkey to talk to farmers about the benefits of expanding existing water irrigation. While the farmers tended to tell a different story about what would make farming in the region more sustainable, the author argues that we need to move away from a polarisation of ‘local’ and ‘techno-scientific’ knowledge in order to look for convergences and divergences between diverse environmental narratives.

Chapter 12

  1. Ivner, Jenny, Anna Elisabeth Björklund, Karl-Henrik Dreborg, Jessica Johansson, Per Viklund and Hans Wiklund, 2010, ‘New tools in local energy planning: experimenting with scenarios, public participation and environmental assessment,’ Local Environment 15(2), pp 105.120.

    This paper suggests a need for a combination of analytical and ‘procedural’ tools in order to develop good environmental policy and management strategies. It suggests an unusual combination of tools and approaches.

  2. Tetlow, Monica Fundingsland and Marie Hanusch, 2012, ‘Strategic environmental assessment: the state of the art,’ Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 30(1), pp 15-24.

    In this special edition of the journal on environmental impact assessment, Tetlow and Hanusch reflect on a wide-ranging review of the literature on strategic environmental assessment (SEA).  They suggest that SEA has evolved rapidly into a ‘family of practices’ and this paper seeks to depict the main schools of thought in the international literature.

  3. Morgan, Richard K., 2012, ‘Environmental impact assessment: the state of the Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal,’ Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 30(1), pp 5-14.

    In the same special edition of the journal as the paper by Tetlow and Hanusch (see above), Morgan reflects on lessons learnt from 40 years of international practice in EIA assessments.

  4. Esteves, Ana, Daniel Franks and Frank Varclay, 2012, ‘Social impact assessment: the state of the art,’ Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 30(1), pp 34-42.

    In the same special edition of the journal as the papers cited above, Esteves, Franks and Varclay review the evolution of practices in relation to social impact assessment. If the aim of SIA is to enhance the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people it is important to have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in international SIA practice, the authors argue.

Chapter 13

  1. Narain, Vishal, 2014, ‘Whose land? Whose water? Water rights, equity and justice in a peri-urban context,’ Local Environment (forthcoming) DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2014.907248.

    Rapid urbanisation in countries such as India is putting new pressure on access to water in peri-urban regions. This paper tells an alarming story of the range of ways in which peri-urban residents lose their access to water as cities expand in north-west India.

  2. Shinn, Jamie, 2014, ‘The rhetoric and the reality of community empowerment in coastal conservation: a case study from Menai Bay Conservation Area, Tanzania,’ African Geographical Review (forthcoming). DOI: 10.1080/19376812.2013.878664.

    The author notes that marine conservation projects are on the rise in East Africa and they share the espoused aim of ‘community empowerment.’ However, the paper’s case study suggests that reality is falling a long way short of the espoused rhetoric.

  3. Russell, Rachel, 2014, ‘Waste Not, Want Not? Evaluating the Urban Sustainability Implications of Decentralised Wastewater Treatment in Tijuana, Mexico,’ Urban Geography (forthcoming) DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2014.917909.

    Unregulated urban growth in Tijuana, Mexico, is overtaking the city’s existing waste water treatment capacity. This paper examines two small-scale waste water treatment plants which aim to reuse waste water. It concludes that water quality coming out of the small-scale plants can, and needs to, be improved but they can complement the role of the overwhelmed centralised system.

Chapter 14

  1. Kuuire, Vincent, Paul Mkandawire, Godwin Arku and Isaac Luginaah, 2013, ‘“Abandoning” farms in search of food: food remittance and household food security in Ghana,’ African Geographical Review 32(2), pp 125-139.

    This paper suggests that changes in rural land use in the Upper Western Region of Ghana are increasing rural poverty and food insecurity in the region. As more people are forced to migrate in search of paid employment, an increasing number of households are relying on receiving food ‘remittances’ sent by distant household members.

  2. Lang, Ursula, 2014, ‘Cultivating the sustainable city: urban agriculture policies and gardening projects in Minneapolis, Minnesota,’ Urban Geography 35(4), pp 477-485.

    This paper focuses on the rise of citizen-led and NGO-led urban agriculture initiatives in Minneapolis and it points out that these have been recognised in the suite of urban sustainability policies adopted by the city. The author suggests that urban gardening has usefully broadened municipal thinking on sustainability beyond the conventional focus on rather abstract indicators and metrics.

  3. Birky, Joshua and Elizabeth Strom, 2013, ‘Urban Perennials: How Diversification has Created a Sustainable Community Garden Movement in the United States,’ Urban Geography 34(8), pp 1193-1216.

    Based on a wide-ranging review of literature and three case studies, this paper suggests that the contemporary community gardens movement in USA differs from earlier movements in regard to the range of participants and their motivations for participation. The paper suggests that urban community gardens now have a more secure financial basis and enough political support to remain a lasting feature of urban life.

  4. Dansero, Egidio and Matteo Puttilli, 2014, ‘Multiple territorialities of alternative food networks: six case studies from Piedmont, Italy,’ Local Environment 19(6), pp 626-643.

    Starting initially as ‘practices of resistance,’ alternative food networks have gained significant policy support in a wide range of countries. However, they take many forms and this paper uses Italian case studies to suggest a way of understanding their significance according to their spatial dimensions, resources and relationships with other projects and initiatives.

  5. Roggeveen, Katherine, 2014, ‘Tomato journeys from farm to fruit shop,’ Local Environment 19(1), pp 77-102.

    This study looks at ways of accounting for greenhouse gas emissions in the production of tomatoes from their origin in farm-based greenhouses to a point of sale in a fruit shop in Sydney, Australia. It casts doubt over the value of simple accounting mechanisms ‒ such as ‘food miles’ ‒ and suggests that the biggest barriers to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in this particular supply chain lie in the cost and availability of lower greenhouse gas emitting practices.

  6. Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne, 2014, ‘Hunger amidst plenty: farmworker food insecurity and coping strategies in California,’ Local Environment 19(2), pp 204-219.

    This paper explores the paradox that many farmworkers who produce food cannot afford to buy enough for their own consumption due to low wages and production for export markets. Although California has some of North America’s most productive agricultural land, many farmworkers are forced to rely on food assistance or farmworker gardens.

Chapter 15

  1. Quastel, Noah, Markus Moos and Nicholas Lynch, 2012, ‘Sustainability-as-Density and the Return of the Social: The Case of Vancouver, British Colombia,’ Urban Geography 33(7), pp 1055-1084.

    Noting that urban planning has widely adopted the assumption that urban renewal involving the creation of ‘walkable neighbourhoods’ with high-density housing serves the interests of urban sustainability, this paper explores the tension between ‘densification’ and housing affordability in Vancouver, Canada, and concludes that social considerations must play a bigger role in sustainability policies.

  2. Arku, Godwin, Jordan Kemp and Jason Gilliland, 2011, ‘An analysis of public debates over urban growth patterns in the City of London, Ontario,’  Local Environment 16(2), pp 147-163.

    Noting that urban planners have been divided by some rather fierce debates about, for example, urban expansion versus consolidation, this paper reviews such debates for the City of London, Ontario, and concludes that it is important to get beyond simplistic generalisations in order to look at ‘locale-specific considerations.’

  3. Balaban, Osman and Jose Antonio Puppim  de Oliveira, 2014, ‘Understanding the links between urban regeneration and climate-friendly urban development: lessons from two case studies in Japan,’ Local Environment 19(8), pp 868-890.

    This paper examines two urban regeneration projects, which are each representative of major approaches to regeneration in Japan, to consider if synergies are possible with policies aiming at mitigating and adapting to climate change. It concludes that such synergies are possible but only if there is an overall vision, political commitment and a willingness to implement ‘binding measures.’

  4. Karuppannan, Sadasivam and Alpana Sivam, 2011, ‘Social sustainability and neighbourhood design: an investigation of residents’ satisfaction in Delhi,’ Local Environment 16(9), pp 849-870.

    In the light of recent debates about ‘new urbanism’, ‘compact cities’ and ‘eco-cities’, this paper focuses on the relationship between urban design and social satisfaction at a neighbourhood level in the Indian city of Delhi. It concludes that access to high quality public realm or common space and mixed land use are likely to enhance social satisfaction.

Chapter 16

  1. Fragkou, Maria Christina, Luis Salinas Roca, Josep Espluga and Xavier Gabarrell, 2014, ‘Metabolisms of injustice: municipal solid waste and environmental equity in Barcelona’s Metropolitan Region,’ Local Environment 19(7), pp 731-747.

    This paper looks at municipal solid waste treatment in 12 coastal municipalities in Barcelona and concludes that people in high socioeconomic categories are more able to avoid waste treatment hazards. The paper argues that environmental and social impacts should be taken into account in thinking about the sustainability of solid waste treatment processes.

  2. Giovanis, Eleftherios, 2014, ‘Relationships between well-being and recycling rates: evidence from life satisfaction in Britain,’ Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy 3(2), pp 201-214.

    This paper analyses responses to Britain’s Household Panel Survey on indicators of well-being. The analysis finds a positive relationship between recycling rates and self-reported well-being.

  3. Grant, Richard and Martin Oteng-Abiabo, 2012, ‘Mapping the Invisible and Real ‘African’ Economy: Urban E-Waste Circuitry,’ Urban Geography 33(1), pp 1-21.

    This paper presents the results of an intense study of the flows of electronic waste through the massive Agbogbloshie e-waste dump in Accra, Ghana. The paper concludes that the site operates as an informal e-waste market that is directly linked into international e-waste circuits, and concludes that it is important to study the intersections of such international e-waste circuits.

  4. Tukahirwa, J.T., A.P.J. Mol and P. Oosterveer, 2010, ‘Civil society participation in urban sanitation and solid waste management in Uganda,’ Local Environment 15(1), pp 1-14.

    In the absence of adequate local government sanitation and solid waste treatment facilities, a range of NGOs, community-based organisations (CBOs) and private companies try to fill the void in many African cities. This study examines the work of 40 NGOs and CBOs involved in this kind of work in Kampala, Uganda, and finds that their efforts are seriously hampered by a lack of financial and political support.