Planetary Improvement: Cleantech Entrepreneurship and the Contradictions of Green Capitalism

Date and time
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
18.00 – 20.00

UCL Pearson Building
Room G07
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT
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Planetary Improvement: Cleantech Entrepreneurship and the Contradictions of Green Capitalism

Join the Urban Salon for a discussion of the politics of environmental and technological change.

In his recent MIT Press book, ‘Planetary Improvement: Cleantech Entrepreneurship and the Contradictions of Green Capitalism‘, author Jesse Goldstein explores the role that clean technologies, in particular those associated with renewable energy generation, play within mainstream environmentalism, and specifically calls for a Green New Deal. With a focus on strategies that he terms planetary improvement, the unfolding climate crisis is often framed as first and foremost an energy crisis, to be solved by the rapid deployment of renewable energy systems that will help “save the planet” without fundamentally altering prevailing patterns of sociotechnical life and material culture.

Can the innovation and deployment of clean technologies, such as renewable energy systems, adequately address the global climate crisis? Are these approaches to environmentalism limited by entrepreneurial, colonial and extractive logics? Are they necessary and pragmatic short term objectives in the face of an increasingly dire climate forecasts?

Join us for a discussion of ways to make sense of the complicated intersections of environmental, social and technological politics.Jesse will be joined by Professor Andrew Barry (UCL Geography) and Dr Rory Rowan (QMUL Geography).

Why Detroit Matters: Decline, Renewal and Hope in a Divided City

Date and time
Wednesday 9 January 2019
16.00 – 18.00

Graham Wallas Room, 5th Floor, Old Building
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE

Why Detroit Matters: Decline, Renewal and Hope in a Divided City

Prof Hyun Bang Shin (LSE)

Prof Loretta Lees (Leicester)

Dr Brian Doucet (University of Waterloo, Canada)

Prof Phil Hubbard (KCL)  

Detroit has come to symbolise deindustrialization and the challenges, and opportunities, it presents. As many cities struggle with urban decline, racial and ethnic tensions and the consequences of neoliberal governance and political fragmentation, Detroit’s relevance grows stronger. In this talk, Brian Doucet bridges academic and non-academic responses to this extreme example of a fractured and divided, post-industrial city. He critically assesses the two dominant narratives which have characterised Detroit: that of the city as a metonym for urban failure, and a new narrative of the comeback city. Through including the perspectives of visionary Detroiters who do not normally feature in academic, policy or political debates, Doucet’s work documents many visions of hope which offer genuine alternatives for an inclusive and just city. This talk will discuss the main findings of the edited book Why Detroit Matters, as well as Detroit’s relevance for cities around the world.  

Biography of the Speaker

Brian Doucet is a Canada Research Chair the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo in Canada. His work focuses on gentrification, neighbourhood change and urban inequalities. Originally from Toronto, he lived in the Netherlands between 2004 – 2017 where he taught urban geography at Utrecht University, and urban studies at Erasmus University College.