Monday, 2 July 2012

Cities, Social Cohesion and the Environment: Towards a Future Research Agenda

an article by Ian R. Cook (Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University) and Erik Swyngedouw (School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester) published in Urban Studies Volume 49 Number 9 (July 2012)


It will be argued in this paper that the problematic of social cohesion is also one of socio-ecological cohesion whereby the urbanisation of nature and its socio-environmentally enabling and disabling conditions are key processes.

By viewing the contradictions of the urbanisation process as intrinsically socio-ecological ones, the terrain of social cohesion is shifted both epistemologically and politically.

The paper critically examines three contemporary schools of thought that consider in different ways the relationship between cities, social cohesion and the environment. It begins with a critical examination of the notion of urban sustainability. The paper will then move on to consider two approaches that emphasise issues of (in)equality and (in)justice in the urban environment, those of environmental justice and urban political ecology.

The final part of the paper pinpoints four areas of research that urban researchers must examine if we are to understand more fully – and act more politically on – the nexus between cities, social cohesion and the environment.

Hazel’s comment:
I dithered about including this as “careers information” even with my broad definition of “this is something that a careers/employment adviser would be pleased to know about”.
Then I realised that without social cohesion and social justice prevailing then there is little chance of equitable opportunities for the people!

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