Thursday 26th 10.00 – 12.00 Track 1

Urban redevelopment:
New build, green and low-carbon gentrification in the transformed city?

10.00 – 10.05 Introduction
– Audun Ruud & Celine Loades

10.05 – 10.30 Studying communities of knowledge and practice on people-centered and resilient spaces related to urban rivers (PEARLS)
– Peter A. Gotsch, Nahida Yeasmin Tonni & Osuri Kumarage

For thousands of years rivers have been magnets for urbanization and backbones of social, economic and cultural development. Likewise, their capacity to link cities and nature, places rivers
at the forefront of sustainable urban development, particularly in times of climate change.

The project “Studying communities of knowledge and practice on people-centered and resilient spaces related to urban rivers (PEARLS)” studies the roles of communities in the context of
contemporary urban river regeneration. As part of the Urban research Conference 2023, this session aims to present lessons from five selected cases of a better practices on community driven urban river regeneration: Oslo, Yogyakarta, Nairobi, Kathmandu and Chicago.

PEARLS emerges through co-production with the respective local initiatives and networks such as the Kota Kita Foundation (Solo), the Kounkuey Design Initiative (Nairobi) or the Oslo Elve Forum,
among others. The data that presented is based on document reviews, 15 key-informant interviews and three workshops with representatives of the partners. This is a part of a database of
case studies on community driven urban river regeneration that is currently being developed by the author in cooperation with United Nations Human Settlements Program.

Peter Andreas Gotsch is Professor for Sustainable Urban Development in the Global south in the Program Urban Ecological Planning at NTNU’s Department of Architecture and Planning. He has extensive experience in integrating Urban Planning and International Cooperation. Likewise, creating synergies through linking research, teaching and practice is central for his work.

10.30 – 10.55 Urban Stormwater Aquaponics Garden Environment (USAGE)
– Anne Luise Ribeiro

The USAGE project (Urban Stormwater Aquaponics Garden Environment) is an international collaborative project financed by the EEA grant program IdeaLab: Cities for the future and Sparebankstiftelsen.

The goal is to design and examine the use of an aquaponic unit within the city to improve urban farming and increase locally produced food in the future, reduce stormwater in a sustainable way by using it as a resource, and establishing a learning platform and classroom model for local schools.

Aquaponics is a production method that combines aquaculture and a water-based plant production system (hydroponics) in a closed loop where the water is circled around to reduce water usage, as well as utilizing the fish-waste products as nutrients for the plants. Due to evaporation and plant usage of water, it is necessary to refill water into the system. One of the project goals is to examine if we can reuse rainwater filtered through green roofs as an alternative to clean spring water. This would help reduce storm and roof water in a sustainable way.

The project is also looking into the nutritional value within the grown crops and comparing them to goods available in local grocery stores.

The project is collaborating with local schools (Natur VGS) to create a classroom model with the potential to be used by teachers while they are planning their lessons based on relevant curriculum. The goal of the classroom model is to create a resource for the teachers to use and work from. Because aquaculture touches on many different subjects (biology, chemistry, agriculture, politics, economy etc.), it is suitable for interdisciplinary projects as well.

The project is running until summer 2024. At the Urban Research Conference, this session offers to share the status of the project, go over some of the challenges the project has had, what has been learnt through the project, current results as well as hopes and plans for the future.

Anne Luise Ribeiro has been employed at Research institute for water and the environment (NIVA) for eight years and works as a senior engineer in the section for urban environments and infrastructure. She has a background in biology and ecotoxicology. Ribeiro has a great interest in current environmental problems, environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology, and most recently how these are handled in an urban context.

– A short break

11.05 – 11.30 Greening the Urban Port? Port-City interfaces and the vehicle of “the environment” in Hamburg
– Elisabeth Schober

How to study the turbulent transitions and risky mobilities of contemporary capitalism, and its expressions on urban space? An illuminating, but habitually overlooked site that lends itself to explorations into the changing nature of our globe-spanning economic system can be found at the interface between the sea and the city, i.e. where the port is. Urban transformations in port-cities are usually fast-paced these days, and feed into existing or rising inequalities; waterfront properties that are no longer needed in the realm of logistics often quickly turn into high-end housing for the rich.

Unlike many modern-day ports, the Port of Hamburg, Europe’s third largest port in terms of container movements, is still situated square in the middle of the actual city of Hamburg. This (by now) rather unusual overlap between city and port has turned Hamburg into a location that is perennially short of space. While many of its inhabitants argue that the port is taking up too much prime real estate and eating into the city at all corners, all the while, port stakeholders often express the opinion that the city mined the port area for urban development instead.

These discussions have become particularly heated in light of preparations for the newest port development plan (Hafenentwicklungsplan), which is drawn up on behalf of the Senate of Hamburg (the executive organ of this German city-state). This strategic document of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg was last put together in 2012 and was based on astronomically large growth projections, thereby justifying projects like the economically and environmentally rather costly dredging of the Elbe River. Popular contestations over the city’s environment, be that over the role of the river itself, or over the many green spaces that have emerged in fallow logistical spaces, are today the prime vehicles through which some citizens of Hamburg imagine a future for their city that is less port-centric than its past.

Elisabeth Schober is an associate professor at University of Oslo’s Department of Social Anthropology.  She is an economic anthropologist and globalization studies scholar with research and teaching interests in maritime work, gender/sexuality, and urban studies, as well as political economy. She is currently PI at “Ports” – a five year project funded by an ERC Starting Grant.

11.30 – 12.00 Contextualizing green gentrification. A theoretical framework
– Roberta Cucca

Global urban development is increasingly oriented towards sustainability strategies and green urbanism. Since the 1990’s, sustainability goals, alongside climate protection objectives, have become integral to urban policy and planning. In recent years, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies have gained prominence in urban areas, given their susceptibility to severe flood or heat-wave events (IPCC, 2022). However, the social justice implications of urban greening have been overlooked for an extended period.

A significant contemporary challenge is establishing a resilient city without exacerbating the vulnerability of marginalized groups and avoiding their displacement. The phenomenon known as “green” or “environmental” gentrification poses a serious threat in various urban regions worldwide. Political ecologists, human geographers, and sociologists have offered extensive critiques, highlighting the potential adverse effects of urban greening on numerous vulnerable populations. Nonetheless, a comprehensive comparative overview is still absent, and limited knowledge exists about the factors that could impede a just green transition. This transition involves implementing necessary climate change actions while averting the risk of green gentrification.

This paper introduces a novel theoretical contribution to the discourse by examining mechanisms and factors relevant to understand potential drivers of green gentrification, alongside strategies to harmonize environmental approaches with housing affordability policies. First, it focuses on four pertinent mechanisms for comprehending green gentrification risks: localized social, economic, and demographic factors; localized environmental-spatial considerations; multilevel governance of pertinent policies; and the role of politics and civil society in the decision-making process. Second, it delves into strategies that can potentially prevent or curtail green gentrification. These strategies encompass community engagement to counter displacement resulting from green renewal; the “just green enough” planning approach; and housing policy interventions like rent control or the integration of social housing within greening initiatives.

Roberta Cucca is Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, where she teaches Urban Sociology.  Her main research interests are: Social Inequalities in Contemporary Cities; Participation in Local Policy Decision Making; Social dimension of sustainability. She is a member of the board of the RC21 (Urban and Regional Development) in the International Sociological Association.