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The slow politics of climate urgency

Edited by Håvard Haarstad, Jakob Grandin, Kristin Kjærås, and Eleanor Johnson

ISBN: 9781800083288

Publication: January 19, 2023

What is this?
What does it mean politically to construct climate change as a matter of urgency? We are certainly running out of time to stop climate change. But perhaps this particular understanding of urgency could be at the heart of the problem. When in haste, we make more mistakes, we overlook things, we get tunnel vision. Here we make the case for a ‘slow politics of urgency’. Rather than rushing and speeding up, the sustainable future is arguably better served by us challenging the dominant framings through which we understand time and change in society. Transformation to meet the climate challenge requires multiple temporalities of change, speeding up certain types of change processes but also slowing things down.

While recognizing the need for certain types of urgency in climate politics, Haste directs attention to the different and alternative temporalities at play in climate and sustainability politics. It addresses several key issues on climate urgency: How do we accommodate concerns that are undermined by the politics of urgency, such as participation and justice? How do we act upon the urgency of the climate challenge without reproducing the problems that speeding up of social processes has brought? What do the slow politics of urgency look like in practice? Divided into 23 short and accessible chapters, written by both established and emerging scholars from different disciplines, Haste tackles a major problem in contemporary climate change research and offers creative perspectives on pathways out of the climate emergency.

Håvard Haarstad is Professor at the Department of Geography, and Director for the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET) at the University of Bergen.

Jakob Grandin is a PhD researcher at CET, University of Bergen, and convenor of the UiB Collaboratory advancing interdisciplinary and student-driven education.  

Kristin Kjærås has completed a PhD thesis (2021) on compact city politics in Oslo. She is currently special advisor for the Oslo’s City Council Committee for Urban Development City.

Eleanor Johnson is a researcher for the Sustainability Lab at the University of Oslo, developing communication strategy and doing sustainability research.

List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors

1 Why the haste? Introduction to the slow politics of climate urgency
Håvard Haarstad, Jakob Grandin, Kristin Kjærås and Eleanor Johnson

Part I: Climate apocalypse and radical utopias

2 'The apocalypse is disappointing': traversing the ecological fantasy
Erik Swyngedouw

3 From architectures of capital to architectures of care: the arts of dreaming otherwise in the Oslo Architecture Triennale
Cecilie Sachs Olsen

4 Extinction Rebellion and the future city
Emma Arnold

5 The urgency of hope and responses to contemporary crises
Marikken Wullf-Wathne and Kristin Kjærås

Part II: Learning the politics of urgency

6 Negation, imagination and organisation: rethinking sustainability transitions as a question of popular education
Keri Facer

7 ‘Right here, right now’: Immediacy, space and publicness in the politics of climate crisis
Eugene McCann

8 Carefully transforming our institutions: how they change, how they listen
Scott Bremer and Eleanor Johnson

9 Experimenting ecological civilization on the ground: the green transformation of a resource-based city in China Ping Huang and Xiaohui Hu

Part III: Countering alienation under rapid change

10 The good, the bad and the beautiful? The role of aesthetics in low-carbon consumption
Jesse Schrage

11 Sustainability from the ground: urban gardening with children as means to environmental change
Sofia Cele

12 Refashioning the supercyclical city
Eleanor Johnson

13 Environmental injustices unfold in urban sustainability projects in Istanbul
Mahir Yazar

14 Inclusive sustainability: gaming as a tool for participation in urgent planning
Tarje I. Wanvik and Håvard H. Bjørnstad

Part IV: Contesting the speed of urban change

15 Small measures, large change: the promise and peril of incremental urbanisation
Andrew Karvonen and Jonas Bylund

16 Make way for efficiency: sustainable mobility and the politics of speed Jakob Grandin

17 The geography of the 'world greenest cities': a class-based critique Ståle Holgersen

18 Climate imaginaries for urgent urban transformations
Håvard Haarstad

Part V: Temporalities of infrastructural change

19 Periphery everywhere
AbdouMaliq Simone

20 Reimagining urban innovation
Matthew Cook

21 Promises and contradictions of digital sustainability in the post-pandemic city
Chiara Certomà

22 People’s Republic of Energy: rethinking the possible in energy futures
Hannah Knox, Jonathan Atkinson and Britt Jurgensen

23 Solar spectacles: why Lisbon’s solar projects matter for energy transformation
Siddharth Sareen


Format: Open Access PDF

264 Pages

32 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2023

ISBN: 9781800083288

Publication: January 19, 2023

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