The latest issue of Area (Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 134–268, June 2012) is available on Wiley Online Library.
Click past the break for a full list of articles in this issue.
by Cian O’ Callaghan
One of the impacts of the financial crisis that began in late 2008 is that the strategies, plans, and visions underpinning the development of cities do not speak to current realities. Many of these strategies project twenty or thirty years into the future, a future they seek to build from a present that no longer exists.
The art installation depicted in the photograph above, which was produced in Cork city, Ireland during September 2008, captures the mood of this period very well. It caught the city at a pivotal moment when the aspirations of the Cork Docklands Development Strategy – a plan initiated around the start of the millennium, which came to fruition in unison with the collapse of the property market – were about to be swallowed up the recession. At the time these industrial buildings were slated for demolition to make way for three million sq ft of offices and over 1,200 apartments. The installation was, in a way, like an elegy for these buildings and the version of industrial Cork they represented. Due to the property crash, the intended development never happened, and these industrial buildings are still sitting on the quays.
The Celtic Tiger period in Ireland was characterised by optimism and growth. But Ireland is now characterised by a very different narrative; that of banking collapse, sovereign debt, failed speculation, and ghost estates. This confrontation between the exuberance of the Celtic Tiger and the miasma of the current period is expressed in those strategies that bridge the rupture between these two very different eras. Now, rather than the population growth that was anticipated as a result of the Docklands project, Cork has to contend with halted developments and vacant properties, the loans of which are owned by Ireland’s ‘toxic’ bank, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). One of the city’s landmark buildings, the Elysian, for example, is now also one of Ireland’s most iconic ghost estates with reputably only twenty five units in the complex sold. Meanwhile, the local Occupy Cork movement recently moved their camp off the streets and into another NAMA owned building in the city centre.
The dilemma currently faced by Cork is not unique to that city. This conundrum raises a number of important questions for urban geographers. One, which I address in my paper, is what happens to all those powerful urban visions underpinning aborted growth plans? As we enter into a new era of capitalism, a key research question for urban geographers will not only be to address how to move the development of cities forward, but also to understand the latent affects of the plans and visions now lost but not forgotten.
The author: Dr Cian O’ Callaghan is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Geography and NIRSA (National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis), National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
O’Callaghan C 2012 Lightness and weight: (re)reading urban potentialities through photographs Area doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01078.x
O’Connell B 2011 The high-rise and the downturn The Irish Times 25 June
A Christmas gift to Cork YouTube video 2 Jan 2012
These Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.
Critical distance: doing development education through international volunteering
Article first published online: 16 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01076.x
Lightness and weight: (re)reading urban potentialities through photographs
Article first published online: 18 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01078.x
A ‘new Foucault’ with lively implications – or ‘the crawfish advances sideways’
Article first published online: 16 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00484.x
Assessing the significance of soil erosion
G S Bilotta, M Grove and S M Mudd
Article first published online: 17 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00497.x
by Anna Davies and Ruth Doyle
In 2009 the UK Chief Scientific Advisor Sir John Beddington warned that global society is facing a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges in the context of a changing climate with 50% more energy and food and 30% more water required by 2030. In our Area paper we argue that despite such widely articulated concerns, routinised production and consumption behaviour, particularly within households of western, industrialized societies remains unsustainable. Experimental tools for trying to initiate a significant shift towards more sustainable futures are clearly required. Collaborative visioning exercises are emerging as one way to engage a wide range of stakeholders and members of the public in the design of innovations for more radical advances towards sustainable living. Situated within a wider research project on sustainable consumption (CONSENSUS) our Area paper reflects on the learning potential of multistakeholder visioning exercises held with the aim of generating ideas for more sustainable household heating and washing practices. Concepts developed through this visioning process were clustered and prioritized and three distinct future scenarios were constructed. In addition to formal workshops with stakeholders and the general public we also engaged in a more novel public outreach experiment with the Science Gallery in Dublin. As part of their water-themed exhibition – ‘Surface Tension’, we developed an exhibit ‘WaterWise: Washing Futures’ with illustrator Chris Judge who depicted our scenarios for future washing practices in a fun, provocative format.
Visitors are invited to step into the year 2050 and imagine more sustainable washing routines through the use of advanced technologies and water systems supported by alternative cultural norms and water regulations. Drawing on emerging and envisioned societal and technological trends, the exhibit encourages critical reflection on our washing routines and how we approach sustainability problems. Visitors are asked to provide feedback on the scenarios and in this way they contribute to the iterative nature of the scenario design process, helping to shape policy recommendations for sustainable water consumption. Our Area paper reflects on the benefits and limitations of adopting such collaborative visioning processes and marks the first step in examining what impact they can make to changing how we live now and in the future.
The authors: Anna Davies is Associate Professor and Ruth Doyle is a PhD student, both in the Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin.
Davies A R, Doyle R and Pape J 2011 Future visioning for sustainable household practices: spaces for sustainability learning? Area doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01054.x
CONSENSUS: A cross-border household analysis of CONSumption, ENvironment and SUStainability in Ireland. Project website 2011.
Surface Tension exhibition, Science Gallery, Dublin (open 21 Oct 2011 – 20 Jan 2012).
WaterWise: Washing Futures YouTube video. 7 Nov 2011.
These Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.
Experimental geopolitics: Wafaa Bilal’s Domestic tension
Article first published online: 30 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00455.x
Earthquake disasters and resilience in the global North: lessons from New Zealand and Japan
K Crowley (Nee Donovan) and J R Elliott
Article first published online: 28 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00453.x
A royal encounter: space, spectacle and the Queen’s visit to Ireland 2011
Nuala C Johnson
Article first published online: 28 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00454.x
Disciplined mobility and carceral geography: prisoner transport in Russia
Dominique Moran, Laura Piacentini and Judith Pallot
Article first published online: 28 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00483.x