Conference Agenda

RN12_06a: Sustainability and Environmental Conflicts
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Magnani Natalia, University of Trento
Location: BS.3.21
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Cittaslow Movement and Sustainability in Seferihisar (Turkey): The Perspective of Local Inhabitants

Nazli Beril Ozer Tekin

Okan University, Turkey

This paper is based on the results of my field work conducted between 2015-2018 within the framework of my PhD research. The majority of cittaslow studies focus rather on the topics of local development, tourism and city policies. Few of them deal with the issue of sustainability from a critical perspective of capitalist production and accumulation regime. My study fills this gap and demonstrates that cittaslow practice cannot be understood independent of capitalist production relations. The data acquired through survey questionnaires conducted with local actors have been analyzed with a perspective of neo-Marxist urban studies approach. Accordingly, my research shows that with the official recognition of Seferihisar as cittaslow, we see an increase in the services offered by municipality, but this has been also accompanied by the arising problems such as population increase, further increase in social stratification, environmental problems, genrification, and alienation of local people.

Within the scope of the research quantitative methods (332 survey questionnaire with the inhabitants) as well as qualitative methods (semi-structured in-depth interviews with neighborhood leaders- mukhtars and informal interviews) has been combined with each other. The obtained quantitative data has been processed through SPSS 21 (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) program and related tests have been applied. In my paper I discuss these results as mentioned above and finally I argue that although cittaslow has been posed as an alternative to current capitalist economic system, with the implementation of this concept in Seferihisar urban space became highly commodified and cittaslow has been used rather as a shop window in the marketization processes of the urban space.

Challenging Dominant Understandings of Sustainability: Continuities and Change in Migrants' Sustainability Practices

Catherine Louise Walker, Tally Katz-Gerro, Sherilyn MacGregor

University of Manchester, United Kingdom

We present findings from mixed-methods research conducted in summer 2018 into the environmentally-significant household practices of Somali immigrants in Moss Side, an ethnically ‘super-diverse’ (Vertovec 2007) ward in Manchester. Like other Global North cities, Manchester is juggling the pressures of inward migration and urban austerity while trying to become a ‘world leader in inclusive and sustainable growth’. An identified challenge to this ambition is the lack of informed understandings of the environmental concerns and knowledges of ‘hard to reach’ groups such as immigrants from the Global South (cf. Head et al. 2018).

Our research was framed by a theoretical critique of the dominance of Western imaginaries in conceptualising and governing sustainability and by an intersectional approach to considering the composite effects of gender, socioeconomic background, ethnicity, and religion on the dynamics of sustainability practices.

Drawing on analysis of survey and interview data, we present three key contributions to this emerging area of study: first, we theorise the cultural, economic and structural factors that may determine the continuation or discontinuation of practices as people migrate. Second, we identify a number of motivations (cultural, economic, governmental and environmental) underpinning the performance of practices such as food acquisition and preparation, use of water and energy and recycling. Third, and building on these observations, we argue that these findings allow us to trouble dominant understandings of sustainability and have potential to contribute to more inclusive strategies for addressing the intersecting challenges of international migration and urban environmental change in Manchester and beyond.

Transdisciplinary Environmental Impact Assessment: resistances from the practitioners' perspective in Spain

Guadalupe Ortiz, Emilio Climent-Gil

University of Alicante, Spain

The transdisciplinary approach has become an useful epistemological and practical tool for tackling the complex relation between society and science, with a particularly interesting application in the case of environmental issues. Transdisciplinarity emphasizes the need to address these complex problems through openness to new forms of non-expert knowledge and epistemological interpenetration. We explore the applicability of transdisciplinarity to the case of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIS) in Spain, first, with a proposal for a transdisciplinary EIA procedure, and second, by contrasting this proposal with EIA practitioners through 25 qualitative interviews. These interviews have allowed us to deepen in the predisposition of these professionals to an effective integration of new forms of knowledge in the EIA procedure. In this sense, the interviewees assessed the real possibilities of deploying participatory strategies for the identification and evaluation of impacts, and reflected on the difficulties they face in the treatment and analysis of the social dimension. We found that the main barriers for a transdisciplinary approach in EIA are a) the lack of multidisciplinary teams on the technical side; b) a reductionist vision of social participation and c) a weak institutional support.

Fermento. Experiences of circular innovation in Aosta Valley

Claudio Marciano

University of Aosta Valley, Italy

Fermento is a sociological exploration on the circular innovation practices in Aosta Valley.

The concept of circular innovation entails economic and cultural practices able to realize a new model of sustainable development based on the regeneration of agricultural and touristic resources through the use of communication, networking and the implementation of the scientific and collective know how.

From the Gressoney Valley, where two young graduates decided to recover several hectares of abandoned lands to cultivate potatoes from Walser tradition, to the Maison Bruil of Introd, where a a start up created a collaborative network between local producers, Aosta Valley seems to be a geographic and social field in “ferment”, where several projects of micro or self enterprise try to propose a sustainable way to create new job opportunities as well as new form of collective identities.

Drawing on fifteen case studies and focusing on their common points, the paper aims to draft an interpretation of the social change in Aosta Valley, where conflicts and contradictions between circular and linear economy are more evident due to the uniqueness of the Alp’s environment.

The Energy Retrofit of Urban Buildings as a Socio-Spatial Challenge for Civil Society

Magnani Natalia1, Carrosio Giovanni2, Osti Giorgio2

1University of Trento, Italy; 2University of Trieste, Italy

The current paper analyses the issue of energy retrofitting of buildings in Italian cities. In particular a mixed-method approach is used combining the socio-spatial analysis of data on the most nationally and regionally relevant policy tool, namely tax deduction together with qualitative analysis of three case studies of middle-sized cities. The results show that on the one hand that tax deduction has not been very effective in promoting a deep renovation of buildings and it may exacerbate already existing inequalities. On the other hand, it emerges that progress in eco-retrofit of buildings depends mainly on creation of new intermediators and intermediation incentives. They are increasingly necessary in an urban panorama that has become inevitably polycentric.