2016 Calls for Papers

The EESG is very excited to be sponsoring the proposed sessions for the AAG 2016 meeting in San Francisco, CA, March 29th-April 2nd. Please see below the calls for papers:

Aman Luthra (Johns Hopkins University)
 In her book 'Nature, Choice and Social Power', Erica Schoenberger examines how different forms of social power structure and limit the set of available choices in the making of our social and environmental history. Drawing on case studies in mining,the automobile, and urban sprawl, the book draws on a political economy framework and addresses the notion of individual responsibility in an otherwise impersonal system. This session will bring Schoenberger into conversation with a diverse set of scholars who also grapple with similar questions in different ways.
Asia Symposium: Research on Energy and Environment 
Convener: Michael Glass (University of Pittsburg) and Mirza Sadaqat Huda
This session is part of the one-day Asia Symposium. The papers in this session reflect current research on and about energy and environment in Asia. 

Environment as a Profession
Convener: Drew Lehman

Geographic skills are adaptable to diverse career paths in the environmental profession. Impact assessment, sea level rise mapping, modeling the ecology of climate change, land conservation, planning and transportation studies are but a few examples of the disciplines that trained Geographers fulfill. Government, industry, non-profits and non-government organizations routinely require and apply tools of the geographic discipline, though the “brand name” of Geography may not at first resonate.

This session offers presentations by leading West Coast environmental professionals from private industry, government, academia and the non-profit sectors. Each has had extensive experience in the recruitment, hiring, and mentoring of students and practicing professionals alike. They have been invited to discuss their started in the environmental profession, academic background, career path, and the type of credentials their organization considers when evaluating job seekers. An open discussion will follow their talks. 

Paper Session
San Francisco Infrastructure—Clean Water, Power and Sewer for a City
Conveners: Drew Lehman 

This paper session considers where and how the City of San Francisco gets and manages three basic infrastructure elements – water, power and sewer - from points of generation to ultimate disposal. Surrounded on three sides by the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific, the City imports most of its energy and water from distant sources.

Most know that the City’s water supplies flows from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir; less known is that these waters originate in the Tuolumne River watershed in Yosemite National Park. Its wastewater treatment system handles combined wastewater and stormwater, presenting a considerable challenge to manage and dispose of this waste stream into environmentally sensitive coastal and bay ecosystems. With no major power generating facilities in the City, San Francisco’s power is generated from a nine state region.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) works in collaboration with key regional stakeholders to provide these vital services, each of which brings its unique perspective to advancing these objectives. San Francisco has made an ongoing and substantial financial commitment to invest in innovative clean water, clean power, and wastewater systems. The Water System Improvement Program is a $4.8 billion, multi year capital program to upgrade SFPUC's local and regional water systems. On October 7, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, which aims to increase use of clean energy resources; in March 2016, San Francisco rolls out its CleanPowerSF program. The City is investing $2.7 billion to upgrade its wastewater treatment systems to improve effluent discharges into environmentally sensitive Bay and Pacific Ocean ecosystems.

This session reviews how each stakeholder brings its unique perspective towards advancing these objectives. [Invited] Stakeholder presentations will be made by the SFPUC, by a leading Bay area research entity (the Bay Institute), an advocacy group (the Tuolumne River Trust), a good government non-profit (SPUR - a Bay area planning and urban research group), and the local utility provider, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). 

Paper Session
Urbanization and Environmental Sustainability
Conveners: Yuyu Zhou (Iowa State University), Wenze Yue (Zhejiang University), and Soe Mint (Arizona State University)

In the past several decades, the world has experienced fast urbanization, and the urban growth is expected to continue in the next few decades. Urbanization modifies the Earth’s terrestrial surface, and therefore, has profound impacts on agricultural practices, energy balance, and watershed hydrology from local to regional and even global scales and causes associated environmental problems. Urbanization will increase the challenges of environmental sustainability in terms of growing water, energy, and food demands. There is a growing need, from both the science and policy making communities, for information on urbanization and its environmental impacts from local to global scales. Improved understanding of urbanization can help us develop better practices in land use planning and management for sustainable urban development.

This session invites presentations focusing on urbanization and environmental sustainability. The potential topics can include urbanization mapping and modeling, urban water and energy use, urban emissions, urban health, urbanization impacts on water-energy- food nexus, urban climate, urban ecosystem services, urban disaster assessment and management, and sustainable urban planning. We encourage studies that will advance our understanding of sustainable urban development. We would like to welcome any papers that showcase recent advances and original contributions in such topics.

Submission Procedure: The official abstract submission deadline for AAG is November 18, 2015. You will submit your participation/registration fee and abstracts online through AAG's website (www.aag.org). We would appreciate it if you can send us the abstract at your earliest time, and send your PIN.

Interested contributors should submit their abstract and PIN to either of the co-organizers:

Yuyu Zhou: yuyuzhou[at]iastate.edu

Wenze Yue: wzyue[at]zju.edu.cn

Soe Myint: soe.myint[at]asu.edu

Carbon Reduction on Campus: Challenges and strategies
Mary Ann Cunningham (Vassar College) and Tony Abbott (Stetson University)

Carbon reduction on college and university campuses is a challenge that many of us have wrestled with. Many institutions probably have common obstacles, such as foot-dragging administrators, tight budgets, wariness of innovation, lack of information, shortage of professional expertise, absence of leadership, and so on. Despite obstacles, many of us are working to engage our institutions and push for carbon reductions. This panel session will function as an opportunity to compare observations of obstacles and (perhaps) successful strategies around them.   
We seek 3-4 people who would be interested in sharing their experiences (briefly and informally) and initiating a conversation about how to deal with institutional inertia and to achieve carbon reduction goals with reduced frustration and greater success.  

Organizers: Mary Ann Cunningham (Vassar College), Tony Abbott (Stetson University)
If interested, please contact Mary Ann Cunningham macunningham[at]vassar.edu

Paper Session
Social Geographies of Wind Energy
Chad Walker (Western University) and Jamie Baxter (Western University)

In efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, increase energy sovereignty and build green economies, governments around the world have turned to renewable energy in recent years. Despite the several advantages of wind energy, there has been growing ‘resistance movements’, particularly in places facing potential development (Baxter et al., 2013). These localized opposition groups contrast public opinion polling which has shown very high levels of support for wind energy development- a phenomenon Bell et al. (2005) deemed the ‘Social Gap’. This paradox between public support and local opposition was originally blamed on selfish, NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) motivations (Wolsink, 2000)- though more contemporary research has found more nuanced and context-specific explanations of resistance (Devine-Wright, 2005; Ellis et al., 2007; Walker et al., 2014).

This session invites papers from all social scientists looking at the social dynamics and challenges of wind energy developments. We are particularly interested in speakers whose research sits within the intersection of energy policy and the local realities of wind energy in the developed world.  The session is also open to researchers employing a wide range of approaches including but not limited to interviews and focus groups, mixed methods, discourse analysis, and quantitative analyses

Paper Session
Climate Politics in the Golden State
Tracy Perkins (Howard University and Michael Mendez (University of San Francisco)

California is widely seen as a global innovator in subnational efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This year’s annual meeting in San Francisco provides an opportunity to critically examine California’s climate history, politics, and possible roads ahead with an emphasis on social equity. Scholars have addressed the role of environmental justice activists in shaping the state’s landmark Climate Change Solutions Act of 2006 and the racialized neoliberal discourses underpinning the state’s resulting carbon market (London et al. 2013; Sze et al. 2009). Others have analyzed how climate politics are influenced between the linkages between public health and greenhouse gas emissions (Pastor et al. 2013; Shonkoff et al. 2011; Mendez, 2015). We seek to bring together scholars working on California climate issues to build on existing work and discuss themes such as the following:

- Multi-scalar efforts to address climate change at the local, regional, state, national and global levels 

- Evaluations of the success of existing climate policy

- The raced, classed nature of the impacts of climate change, as well as the potential social impacts of climate change solutions

Comparisons between California climate politics and climate politics in other states

- Linkages between California and international climate mitigation efforts through carbon markets and REDD programs

- Tensions between efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and to promote resiliency in the face of the projected impacts of climate change

- Tensions and opportunities in the convergence of ecological sustainability, human health and social justice in climate politics

- The contested meaning of ‘sustainability’ and its use in climate politics

- Electoral politics and social movement processes in the promotion of climate policies, as well as in opposition to them


Please send proposed titles and abstracts of approximately 250 words by October 29 to: Tracy Perkins (tracy.perkins[at]howard.edu) and Michael Mendez (mamendez5at]usfca.edu). Keep in mind that due to the AAG’s abstract deadline, you will need to have already registered for the meeting and submitted your abstract through the AAG portal by 5pm EDT on the same day.



London, Jonathan et al. 2013. “Racing Climate Change: Collaboration and Conflict in California’s Global Climate Change Policy Arena.” Global Environmental Change 23(4):791–99.

Mendez, Michael. 2015. "Assessing Local Climate Action Plans for Public Health Co-Benefits in Environmental Justice Communities." Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 20(6):637-663.

Pastor, Manuel, Rachel Morello-Frosch, James Sadd, and Justin Scoggins. 2013. “Risky Business: Cap-and-Trade, Public Health, and Environmental Justice.” Pp. 75–94 in Urbanization and Sustainability: Linking Urban Ecology, Environmental Justice and Global Environmental Change, edited by Christopher G. Boone and Michail Fragkias. New York, NY: Springer.

Shonkoff, Seth B., Rachel Morello-Frosch, Manuel Pastor, and James Sadd. 2011. “The Climate Gap: Environmental Health and Equity Implications of Climate Change and Mitigation Policies in California—A Review of the Literature.” Climatic Change 109(S1):S485–503.

Sze, Julie et al. 2009. “Best in Show? Climate and Environmental Justice Policy in California.” Environmental Justice 2(4):179–84.

Oil Citizenship: Rights, Identity, and Environment in North and South America
Conveners: Dr. Gabriela Valdivia (UNC Chapel Hill), Flora Lu (UC Santa Cruz), Angus Lyall (UNC Chapel Hill), and Néstor Silva (Stanford University), Sherine Ebadi (community scholar)
Across the globe, oil money (e.g., oil rents and benefits agreements) and oil materiality (e.g., refineries, public works, and contamination) merge with local spaces and institutions, reconfiguring how regimes of community life unfold. Communities in close proximity to petroleum extraction often receive infrastructural and development projects at the same time that they grapple with public health crises and industrial accidents. In this panel, we compare and contrast how the claims of citizen subjects (especially those belonging to marginalized populations) are recognized within political systems in relation to the flow of oil, problematizing the dichotomy of the ‘good life’ of oil riches on the one hand, and the curse of petro-capitalism on the other. From the urban refinery cities of Richmond, CA and Esmeraldas, Ecuador, to the Colombian llanos and Amazon rainforest, presenters will discuss how local communities interacting with the state and oil companies (both national and multinational) position themselves and are positioned as citizens, and the struggles that emerge.

Presentation and Discussion
Reframing Climate Change: Constructing Ecological Geopolitics
Conveners: Shannon O'Lear and Simon Dalby

From climate science and security to climate justice and literacy, climate change discourse often asks the wrong questions. Current approaches to climate change in scientific, academic and policy realms are often mapped onto state-centered geopolitics that serve to maintain the status quo. Modernity assumes that the planet will persist as a stable support system for human activity, so the familiar approaches of modernity (e.g., the state system, neoliberal economic system, etc.) are not an appropriate fit for our current Anthropocenic context. This book project offers the framing of environmental geopolitics as a way to reconceptualize human relationships with the environment at this time of rapid change on many fronts. Although climate change is clearly about fundamental and unprecedented changes occurring in the biosphere, it is also concerns interconnected human systems: economic, transportation, agriculture, energy, finance and so forth, all of which have political and spatial implications. Chapters consider ways in which governance, technology and environment are shaping our very understanding of power and the practice of geopolitics. Rethinking climate change means deeply reassessing the starting points and objectives in our efforts to rehabilitate degraded systems with justice and flexibility.

Paper Session
Alternative Fuels, Vehicles, and Infrastructure
Conveners: Scott Kelley (Arizona State) and Michael Kuby (Arizona State)
The United States relies on petroleum for 93% of its transportation energy, and conversely, 71% of all petroleum consumption is for transportation purposes. The need for alternatives to petroleum-powered transport is clear, and we are finally seeing commercialization of products and some marketplace success. Alternative fuels include compressed and liquefied natural gas, renewable natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, plug-in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, which can be used for cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles and hybrid bicycles, trains, ships, drones, and airplanes. California is on the forefront of this transition through ambitious programs for zero-emission sales requirements and fuel station development. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have made their long-awaited commercial debut in California over the last year with the launch of the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson FCVs. This field offers exciting research opportunities for a wide variety of geographic research.
This session is open to all geographic perspectives, alternative fuels, modes of transport, regions of the world, and types of infrastructure. A sample of topics include: policies and incentives; facility location and network design; driving/charging/refueling/purchasing behavior; technology choice and tradeoffs; diffusion; environmental impacts, benefits, well-to-wheels analyses; transition trajectories and economics; education; grid benefits; emergency services; equity and vulnerability analysis; and social construction of the issue. Similarly, we encourage submissions using a variety of methods employed by geographers in this field, including GIS analysis and modeling, optimization, statistical analysis, agent-based modeling, survey research, policy analysis, and critical theory.
If interested in participating in these sessions, please submit a title and abstract of 250 words or less to Scott Kelley (sbkelley[at]asu.edu) and Michael Kuby (mikekuby@ asu.edu) by Tuesday, October 27, 2015. All participants will need to pay and register online at the AAG website by the AAG deadline of Thursday, October 29, 2015.

Paper Session
High-Speed Rail: Development, Integration, and Crisis
Conveners: Michael Minn (University of Denver) and Andrew Goetz (University of Denver)

High Speed Rail (HSR) has received an increasing amount of media and political attention over the past decade. HSR is touted as a catalyst for economic activity and a path to sustainable mobility in an increasingly complex and crowded world. HSR has also been derided as a class-based enterprise that can exacerbate harmful social divisions and divert capital from projects that could benefit a broader spectrum of society. China and the EU have created vast HSR networks capable of efficiently moving large numbers of people in comfort and safety.  Meanwhile, the United States has failed to build even one true HSR line as it struggles with political, economic and geographic barriers that have stymied almost half a century of efforts. These session(s) will feature a variety of papers on existing and proposed HSR systems around the world and the geographic ramifications of those systems at different scales.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

* Spatial and social enablers or constraints to system development

* Specific current or historical system case studies

* Economic benefits from or limits to system development

* Multimodal systems integration

* The potential for private HSR development

* The political economy of HSR

If interested in participating in this session please contact Michael Minn (michael.minn [at] du.edu) by October 23 with a brief abstract or proposed contribution. We will confirm participation by October 27th, in time for the AAG registration deadline of October 29th.

Paper Session

Pushing Energy Geographies' Boundaries: The Developing Energy Landscapes of Fracking
Conveners: Trey Murphy (Texas A&M University) and Thomas Loder (Texas A&M University)

Touted by policymakers to bring eventual energy independence to a country that has been importing increasing volumes of oil since the 1970s, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other unconventional exploration technologies have irrevocably altered the U.S. political, cultural, economic, and environmental landscape. These newly explored shale plays have been gaining prominence in geographic circles, as we grow curious—and subsequently, aware—of their potential positive and negative ramifications (see Holahan and Arnold 2013; Haggerty et al. 2014; Lave and Lutz 2014; Willow and Wylie, 2014; Brannstrom and Fry 2015; Fry, Briggle, and Kincaid 2015). As an indelible component of the present-day energy landscape, it is imperative that geographers continue to grapple with the sometimes-harsh realities of charting new ground in fracking research. This is particularly true as fracking landscapes find themselves warped by volatile hydrocarbon prices.

Answering the calls for stronger and more prolific energy geography research (Pasqualetti 2011; Zimmerer 2011; Sovacool 2014; Calvert 2015), the aim of this session is to examine recent developments in fracking scholarship, especially as it pertains to local and regional impacts. We seek participants whose research examines fracking from a human-environment perspective—in any form—through diverse theoretical angles ranging from the political to the economic to the cultural. This research does not have to be specific to the United States, as fracking knowledge and technologies are quickly traversing borders.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

- Local governance

- Hydrocarbon vs. renewable energy production

- Resource extraction and economic change

- Support for/resistance to hydrocarbon production

- Pollution and human/animal health

- Land-tenure and sovereignty

- Energy and agriculture

- Hydrocarbons and the media

- Population, crime and labor

- Transportation, distribution, storage and safety

- Energy, climate change and sustainability

- Emerging international shale plays

 Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Trey Murphy (murphyt[at]email.tamu.edu) and Thomas Loder (tloder[at]tamu.edu) no later than the 29th of October 2015. 


Brannstrom, C., and M. Fry. 2015. Op-Ed: Preemption and Scalar Politics, from Living Wages to Hydraulic Fracturing. AAG Newsletter. http://news.aag.org/2015/03/preemption-and-scalar-politics/ (last accessed 18 September 2015).

Calvert, K. 2015. From “energy geography” to “energy geographies”: Perspectives on a fertile academic borderland. Progress in Human Geography. http://phg.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/01/13/0309132514566343.abstract.

Fry, M., A. Briggle, and J. Kincaid. 2015. Fracking and environmental (in) justice in a Texas city. Ecological Economics 117:97–107.

Haggerty, J., P. H. Gude, M. Delorey, and R. Rasker. 2014. Long-term effects of income specialization in oil and gas extraction: The US West, 1980–2011. Energy Economics 45:186–195.

Holahan, R., and G. Arnold. 2013. An institutional theory of hydraulic fracturing policy. Ecological Economics 94:127–134.

Lave, R., and B. Lutz. 2014. Hydraulic Fracturing: A Critical Physical Geography Review. Geography Compass 8 (10):739–754.

Pasqualetti, M. J. 2011. The Geography of Energy and the Wealth of the World. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101 (4):971–980.

Sovacool, B. K. 2014. What are we doing here? Analyzing fifteen years of energy scholarship and proposing a social science research agenda. Energy Research & Social Science 1:1–29.

Willow, A., & Wylie, S. (2014). Politics, ecology, and the new anthropology of energy: exploring the emerging frontiers of hydraulic fracking. Journal of Political Ecology, 21(12), 222-236.

Zimmerer, K. S. 2011. New Geographies of Energy: Introduction to the Special Issue. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101 (4):705–711.

Paper Session

Towards a Political-Industrial Ecology

Conveners: Jennifer Baka (London School of Economics), Joshua Newell (University of Michigan), and Joshua Cousins (University of Michigan)

This session seeks to strengthen the foundations and expand the boundaries of ‘political-industrial ecology’, an emergent subfield of nature-society geography. Political ecology and industrial ecology have emerged as prominent but distinct intellectual and methodological approaches to understand nature-society interactions. Although these two thought traditions approach environmental questions from different perspectives—one broadly focusing on the politics of resource access and control and the other quantifying material and energy flows through industrial systems—both engage with the world as a set of interwoven systems. Industrial ecologies, however, are not apolitical. Rather, they are interwoven with social, political, and economic processes that shape how materials and energy flow. 

There is a growing cohort of scholars who are beginning to blend elements of these two ecologies – industrial and political. Newell and Cousins (2014) have explored the epistemological and methodological bases of both disciplines. Huber (2010) has called on geographers to explore the industrial ecological underpinnings of capitalism. Others have explored the intersections of industrial and political ecology methods to better spatialize and embed carbon footprints(Freidberg, 2013, 2014), infrastructure development (Cousins and Newell, 2015), ecoindustrial parks (Gibbs and Deutz, 2005, McManus and Gibbs, 2008) and expanded urban metabolism approaches (Pincetl, 2012).

Other work has begun to explore the boundaries between industrial ecology and political ecology through questions that explore the impacts of governance decisions on biofuels (Bailis and Baka, 2011, Baka and Bailis, 2014) resource mobilization and the material economy (Bridge, 2009), the socio-material politics of urban climate governance (Rice, 2014), and the global connections and interrelations between distant carbon emissions, regions, and economies (Bergmann, 2013).

This session will build on this scholarship by bringing together papers to help advance our understanding of epistemological and methodological concerns associated with political-industrial ecology approaches.

Possible topics can include:

  • Resource flows and their relations to urban and industrial geographies
  • Metabolic transitions
  • Industrial ecology-inspired methods within political ecology
  • Materialities of waste
  • Material flows and the ecological distribution of conflicts
  • Narratives of ecological modernization
  • Apolitical industrial ecologies

Please send abstracts of 300 words or less to Jennifer Baka (j.baka[at]lse.ac.uk) by October 25 2015.


BAILIS, R. & BAKA, J. 2011. Constructing Sustainable Biofuels: Governance of the Emerging Biofuel Economy. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101, 827-838.

BAKA, J. & BAILIS, R. 2014. Wasteland energy-scapes: A comparative energy flow analysis of India’s biofuel and biomass economies. Ecological Economics, 108.

BERGMANN, L. 2013. Bound by Chains of Carbon: Ecological–Economic Geographies of Globalization. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103, 1348-1370.

BRIDGE, G. 2009. Material Worlds: Natural Resources, Resource Geography and the Material Economy. Geography Compass, 3, 1217-1244.

COUSINS, J. J. & NEWELL, J. P. 2015. A political–industrial ecology of water supply infrastructure for Los Angeles. Geoforum, 58, 38-50.

FREIDBERG, S. 2013. Calculating sustainability in supply chain capitalism. Economy and Society, 42, 571-596.

FREIDBERG, S. 2014. Footprint technopolitics. Geoforum, 55, 178-189.

GIBBS, D. & DEUTZ, P. 2005. Implementing industrial ecology? Planning for eco-industrial parks in the USA. Geoforum, 36, 452-464.

HUBER, M. T. 2010. Hyphenated Geographies: The Deindustrialization of Nature-Society Geography. Geographical Review, 100, 74-89.

MCMANUS, P. & GIBBS, D. 2008. Industrial ecosystems? The use of tropes in the literature of industrial ecology and eco-industrial parks. Progress in Human Geography, 32, 525-540.

NEWELL, J. P. & COUSINS, J. J. 2014. The boundaries of urban metabolism: Towards a political–industrial ecology. Progress in Human Geography.

PINCETL, S. 2012. Nature, urban development and sustainability – What new elements are needed for a more comprehensive understanding? Cities, 29, S32-S37.

RICE, J. L. 2014. An Urban Political Ecology of Climate Change Governance. Geography Compass, 8, 381-394.

Paper Session

State, Market, and Shifting Bureaucratic Capacities

Conveners: Patrick Bigger (University of Manchester) and Kelly Kay (London School of Economics)

Over the past 25 years, neoliberal logics have become increasingly entrenched in the day-to-day practices of, and approaches to, governance across broad swathes of the globe. The overlap of state and market is seemingly ubiquitous across jurisdictional scales from competitive urbanism to global climate change policy and in matters of social concern from health care provision to policing.  We take inspiration from the recent work of David Graeber, who argues that, “in the big picture it hardly matters, then, whether one seeks to reorganize the world around bureaucratic efficiency or market rationality: all the fundamental assumptions remain the same,” (2015, 41)  as the market increasingly comes to be structured like the state, and the state begins to restructure itself to resemble the market. This begs the question: have state and market really become so deeply entwined through their logics and practices that they are effectively indistinguishable? And if not, what fundamental differences remain between markets and bureaucracies, perhaps the two most important institutions in late capitalist societies?  Furthermore, based on the answers to those questions, what can we learn about the work of bureaucrats and bureaucracies in more closely aligning state and market, or alternatively the ways that this alignment is pushed back against?

Drawing on the extended and evolving legacy of the apparent neoliberalization of everything, we are interested in bringing together work which that theorizes the new and emerging roles that bureaucrats play in governing the ever-blurred distinctions between state and market. Our list of suggested topics is intentionally broad in order to stimulate a conversation across geographic subdisciplines about the role of bureaucracies across diverse registers of concern and modalities of governance. As such, we are open to a diversity of approaches to changing bureaucratic capabilities through the state/market nexus across a wide variety of empirical cases.  

While we are open to any relevant work, some potential topics for papers could include, but are not limited to: environmental governance sector (both actors and logics) authorities of markets in state-market assemblages free trade deals of state/market policy 

New constellations of power and regulatory authority in
The impacts of devolution and local control
The “revolving door” between the state, market, and NGO
New or altered regulatory capacities from existing regulatory
Infrastructure bidding, contracting, and financing
Jurisdictional “turf wars” in the construction and regulation
Structural changes to health care provision
The changing (enhanced or diminished) role of militaries
Growth of state-centric or state-financed markets
State/market interfaces under austerity
Networks in the planning and implementation of international
The spectacular growth of consultancies in the implementation
Versions of economic theory brought into state organizations
Versions of state rationality brought into market organizations

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to both Kelly Kay (k.kay2[at]lse.ac.uk) and Patrick Bigger (patrick.bigger[at]manchester.ac.uk) no later than October 20, 2015. We will determine the composition of the session(s) shortly thereafter.  

Paper Session

Economic Challenges and Grand Challenges

Conveners: Christian Binz (Lund University), Lars Coenen (Lund University), Teis Hansen (Lund University), and Josephine Rekers (Lund University)

Grand challenges such as climate change, ageing societies and food security feature prominently on the agenda of policymakers at all scales, from the EU down to local and regional authorities. What these challenges have in common is that they are complex and multi-sided: Multiple causes and consequences co-exist, often covering several societal domains. Secondly, they are uncertain and unstructured. They defy easy solutions and a partial solution at one point in time may generate new, additional problems at a different point in time or in a different location. Thirdly, they are difficult to manage: Many different actors are involved that represent different interests, have different problem perceptions and advocate different solutions. 


Thus, these challenges have in common, that they not only (or even primarily) require technological advancements, but that they necessitate transformative, system change. These are challenges that require the input and collaboration of a diverse set of societal stakeholders to combine different sources of knowledge in new and useful ways – a process that is often highly place-dependent and co-evolving with the historically grown institutional configurations of cities, regions or countries. Still, whereas such co-evolutionary and place-dependent innovation processes have occupied the minds of economic geographers in recent decades, the respective analytical perspectives remained largely limited to a supply-side perspective on innovation and to addressing questions of economic growth and regional competitiveness or resilience.


Various literatures on transformative social change (e.g. in the sustainability transitions debate or social movement theory) have in turn developed a more nuanced understanding of the collective and distributed agency involved in inducing radical change in unsustainable socio-technical systems. Yet, these authors remained rather silent about the place-dependency of transformative change processes (Hansen and Coenen in press; Murphy in press). 


This session aims at exploring whether and how combining recent work in institutional, relational and evolutionary economic geography with work from various literatures on transformative social change can improve our understanding of the place-dependency involved in addressing grand challenges. More importantly, how can grand challenges push economic geographers to go beyond their previous focus and interests on economic growth and development? And how can existing concepts from economic geography help to specify the place-dependency of transformative social change processes?


We welcome papers that make theoretical as well as empirical contributions to this theme, related to specific grand challenges or to economic geography and transformative change. Topics might include, but are not limited to:


·         Challenge-driven innovation policy

·         Policy coordination and governance at multiple scales

·         Structural and transformational system failures

·         Demand articulation, legitimation, up-scaling and diffusion of environmental innovation

·         Place-making, scales and territories of grand challenges

·         Conflict and power struggles in radical transformations

·         Impact of technological relatedness on transformative change

·         From local experimentation to institutionalization

·         Varieties of capitalism and transformative change


If interested in presenting a paper in this session please send a title and abstract (max 250 words) to Christian.Binz[at]CIRCLE.lu.seLars.Coenen[at]CIRCLE.lu.se,Teis.Hansen[at]KEG.lu.se and Josephine.Rekers[at]KEG.lu.se before October 20, 2015.



Hansen, T. and Coenen L. in press. The geography of sustainability transitions: Review, synthesis and reflections on an emergent research field. Forthcoming in Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

Murphy, J.T. in press. Human geography and socio-technical transition studies: Promising intersections. Forthcoming in Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

Paper Session

Theorizing Energy Transitions in the Global South

Conveners: Connor Harrison (University of South Carolina) and Jeff Popke (East Carolina University)

A number of recent reviews and commentaries have called attention to the varied geographical dimensions of energy landscapes, infrastructures and transitions (Nadaï and Van Der Horst 2010; Bridge et al. 2013; Frantál, et al. 2014; Rutherford and Coutard 2014; Calvert 2015; Huber 2015).  Much of this work has focused on urban areas in the industrialized world, but there are interesting reasons, we believe, to consider the distinctive energy infrastructures, agencies and materialities that characterize the Global South, and to examine how contemporary energy regimes in diverse locales are being reconfigured in the context of climate change.
Energy regimes in the Global South have been variably shaped by complex histories of colonization, nationalism, development, and market-based liberalization.  In most instances, the resulting systems have been built around carbon-based fossil fuels and are largely dependent upon external actors for materials, technologies, capital and expertise.  Spurred in part by the wider discussions around (and funding for) global climate change, many countries are now making a concert effort to reduce oil dependency and increase energy security through fuel diversification and an increase in renewable forms of energy.  The emerging contours of this energy transition include new energy landscapes and socio-technical systems built upon new forms of geo-material agency (geothermal, wind, solar, hydro), more distributed forms of energy production, and new practices and technologies of energy consumption.  These energy transformations will entail not only novel sociomaterial relations and infrastructures, but also the reorganization of governmental powers and practices, as well as new forms of energy citizenship and subjectivity. 
We invite papers aimed at exploring the diverse empirical contours and theoretical implications of energy transitions in the Global South.  The following represents only a suggestive list of the kinds of topics that might be addressed:

• socio-technical and geomaterial mediations of energy ‘metabolism’ 

• the ‘nexus’ between food, water and energy (Leck et al. 2015) 

• assemblage, circulation, flow and leakage in socio-technical systems (Anand 2015)

• energy and biopower; ‘energopolitics’ (Boyer 2014) 

• distributed energy and energy commons

• energy cultures, practices, citizenship and/or subjectivity (Larkin 2013; Gabrys 2014)

• postcolonial theorizations of energy systems

• the dynamics of energy (neo)liberalization (Cupples 2011)

• energy theft, metering, mobilization and/or justice

 • the climate change industry, global finance and energy transition 

• energy security in the Global South

Please send abstracts or expressions of interest to Conor Harrison (cmharris[at]mailbox.sc.edu) or Jeff Popke (popkee[at]ecu.edu) by Friday, October 16. 


Anand, N. 2015.  Leaky states: water audits, ignorance, and the politics of infrastructure. Public Culture 27(2): 305-330.

Boyer, D. 2014.  Energopower: an introduction.  Anthropological Quarterly 87(2): 309-334.

Bridge, G., Bouzarovski, S., Bradshaw, M. and Eyre, N. 2013.  Geographies of energy transition: space, place and the low-carbon economy. Energy Policy 53: 331-341.

Calvert, K. 2015.  From ‘energy geography’ to ‘energy geographies’: perspectives on a fertile academic borderland. Progress in Human Geography. DOI: 10.1177/0309132514566343.

Cupples, J. 2011.  Shifting networks of power in Nicaragua: relational materialisms in the consumption of privatized electricity.Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101(4): 939-948.

Frantál, B., Pasqualetti, M. and Van Der Horst, D. 2014. New trends and challenges for energy geographies. Moravian Geographical Reports 22(2): 2-6.

Gabrys, J. 2014. A cosmopolitics of energy: diverging materialities and hesitating practices. Environment and Planning A 46: 2095-2109.

Huber, M. 2015. Theorizing energy geographies. Geography Compass.  DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12214.

Leck, H., Conway, D., Bradshaw, M. and Rees, J. 2015. Tracing the water-energy-food nexus: description, theory and practice.Geography Compass 9/8: 445-460.

Nadaï, A. and Van Der Horst, D. 2010. Introduction: Landscapes of Energies. Landscape Research 35(2): 143-155.

Rutherford, J. and Coutard, O. 2014.  Urban energy transitions: places, processes and politics of socio-technical change.Urban Studies 51(7): 1353-1377.


Boundary space in environmental politics: Contested geographies of knowledge and power

Conveners: James Palmber (University of Oxford) and Martin Mahony (King's College)

Climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification and other major environmental challenges are often viewed as global problems requiring global solutions (Hulme, 2009; Miller, 2004). Within the sustainability sciences, some factions even contend that we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, which demands new modes of environmental governance centred on the policing of boundaries and tipping points at a planetary scale (Rockström et al., 2009; Steffen et al., 2015). Within this outlook, scientific knowledge of environmental degradation is typically viewed as universally applicable, and as the primary basis upon which to formulate objective, rational policy decisions.

Scholarship in science and technology studies and critical political ecology has a long history of debunking the idea of universally applicable, placeless knowledge (Shapin, 1998; Forsyth, 2003). Moreover, the ways in which environmental knowledges come into contact with policy making and political processes have been shown, through a number of in-depth case studies, to be complex and varied (Jasanoff, 1990; Owens, 2015). A particularly seminal insight has been that the qualities of ‘good science’ itself are contingent and negotiable; actors in contentious environmental policy debates routinely engage, rhetorically and discursively, in ‘boundary work’ (Gieryn, 1983), in order to influence how authority accrues to different kinds of knowledge claims.

Most recently, geographers have begun to investigate how the interactions of knowledge and power are themselves influenced by the material geographic settings in which actors struggle over questions of epistemic and political authority (Kuus, 2014; Mahony, 2013; Palmer, 2014). Drawing inspiration from recent work on the geographies of science, a central claim of this work is that we should study not simply boundary work, but ‘boundary spaces’, if we hope to deepen our understandings of the full complexity of knowledge­’s interactions with political power at the ‘science-policy interface’. As recent interventions have argued (Lave et al., 2014; Tadaki et al., 2012), geography is ideally placed to develop a critical, reflexive dialogue about the production and application of environmental knowledge – including physical geographical knowledge – in contentious policy debates.

Accordingly, this paper session invites contributions that explore the local, place-specific ways in which environmental knowledges are produced, assembled, allocated authority, and ultimately brought into contact with relevant policy processes. Abstracts might seek to contribute to these debates by addressing one or more of the following issues:
·      The local negotiation of environmental ‘expertise’
·      The impact of bureaucratic context on environmental problem definition, and the subsequent political effects of such framings
·      Place-specific disputes over the allocation of epistemic authority
·      The local construction or emergence of environmental ‘boundary objects’
·      The place-based politics of governing participation in environmental debates
·      The influence of a situated ‘politics of scale’ in epistemic disputes about the environment
·      The co-production of socio-biophysical systems and its illumination through critical physical geography
Please email abstracts of no more than 300 words by Friday October 9th 2015 at the latest to James Palmer (james.palmer@ouce.ox.ac.uk) or Martin Mahony (martin.mahony@kcl.ac.uk). Successful submissions will be contacted by 16th October 2015 and will be expected to pay the conference registration fee and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 29th 2015.
Forsyth, T. 2003. Critical Political Ecology: The Politics of Environmental Science. London, Routledge.
Gieryn, T.F. 1983. ‘Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists.’ American Sociological Review 48: 781–795.
Hulme, M., 2009. Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Jasanoff, S. 1990. The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Kuus, M. 2014. Geopolitics and Expertise: Knowledge and Authority in European Diplomacy. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
Lave, R. et al. 2014. ‘Intervention: Critical physical geography.’ The Canadian Geographer 58(1): 1–10.
Mahony, M. 2013. ‘Boundary spaces: Science, politics and the epistemic geographies of climate change in Copenhagen, 2009.’ Geoforum 49: 29–39.
Miller, C.A., 2004. ‘Climate science and the making of a global political order.’ In: Jasanoff, S. (ed.), States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order. Routledge, London, pp. 46–66.
Owens, S. 2015. Knowledge, Policy, and Expertise: The UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1970 – 2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Palmer, J. 2014. ‘Biofuels and the politics of land-use change: tracing the interactions of discourse and place in European policy making.; Environment and Planning A 46: 337–352.
Rockström, J. et al. 2009. ‘A safe operating space for humanity.’ Nature 461: 472–475.   
Shapin, S., 1998. ‘Placing the view from nowhere: historical and sociological problems in the location of science.’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 23 (1), 5–12.
Steffen, W. et al. 2015. ‘Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet.’ Science 347: 736–746
Tadaki, M., Salmond, J., Heron, R.L. and Brierley, G. 2012. ‘Nature, culture, and the work of physical geography.’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 34(4): 547–562. 


Multi-Scalar Conflicts over Hydraulic Fracturing

Conveners: Sarah Romero (University of Northern Colorado) and Jen Schneider (Boise State University)

This session seeks to examine multi-scalar conflicts generated by the practice and politics of hydraulic fracturing and how these conflicts, in turn, shape environmental governance. Various forms of conflict (broadly defined) have accompanied the expansion as well as the prospect of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the United States, Europe, and Latin America (Fry 2013; Kuuskraa 2011; Mares 2012; Weile 2014). Some conflicts—evident in social movements, protests, policy struggles and negotiations, and more—have been documented (see for example, Carre 2012; Toan 2015; Schneider 2015; Smith & Ferguson, 2013; Svampa 2015; Vesalon & Cretan 2015). Yet there is more to be gained from systematic examination of these conflicts within environmental governance frameworks. How do conflicts over unconventional oil and gas development emerge and what explains the particular shape they take? How do the politics of scale, including the multi-sectoral character of fracking, influence these conflicts? How do these conflicts influence and/or help to shape environmental governance in practice? The session hopes to include papers covering diverse regions (including Global North and South) and contexts globally.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The influence of variance in the social, socio-economic, physical, and/or political context of hydraulic fracturing on resistance, negotiation, and conflict;

  • The explicitly cross-scalar and/or multi-sectoral dimensions of fracking-related conflicts; for example, state-local conflicts over fracking, including the politics of “banning bans” and other examples of crises of jurisdiction;

  • Universities or other social institutions as sites of fracking and/or fossil fuel company investment/donations (or “frackademia”);

  • Unexpected forms of collaboration between/among state, industry, and/or social actors within conflicts over fracking;

Examination of how conflicts are shaping/have shaped governance of hydraulic fracturing at local, national, or international scales.

Key words: Hydraulic fracturing, fracking, conflicts, environmental governance, scalar politics.

Please send abstracts to Sarah Romano (sarah.romano[at]unco.edu) or Jen Schneider (jenschneider[at]boisestate.edu) by October 1, 2015 (5 pm). Decisions will be communicated to potential participants by October 9.


Carre, N. (2012) Environmental Justice and Hydraulic Fracturing: The Ascendency of Grassroots Populism in Policy Determination. Journal of Social Change 4(1): 1-13.page1image20872 page1image21032

Fry, M. (2013) Urban Gas Drilling and Distance Ordinances in the Texas Barnett Shale. Energy Policy 62: 79-89.

Kuuskraa, V. et al. (2011) World Shale Gas Resources: An Initial Assessment of 14 Regions Outside the United States. Prepared for U.S. Energy Information Administration. July. Mares, D. (2012) The New Energy Landscape in Latin America: Shale Gas in Latin America.

InterAmerican Development Bank. Toan, K. 2015. Not Under My Backyard: The Battle Between Colorado and Local Governments

Over Hydraulic Fracturing. Colo. Nat. Resources, Energy & Envtl. L. Review 26(1): 1-67. Schneider, J. Frackademia, Divestment, and the Limits of Academic Freedom. Presented at the Conference on Communication and the Environment, International Environmental Communication Association. Boulder, CO. June 13, 2015.

Smith, M.F. and D.P. Ferguson. (2013) “Fracking democracy”: Issue management and locus of policy decision-making in the Marcellus Shale gas drilling debate. Public Relations Review 39: 377-386. 

Svampa, M. (2015) Commodities Consensus: Neoextractivism and Enclosure of the Commons in Latin America. South Atlantic Quarterly 114(1): 65-82. Vesalon, L. and R. Cretan. (2015) We are not the Wild West: anti-fracking protests in Romania.

Environmental Politics 24 (2): 288–307.
Weile, R. (2014) Beyond the Fracking Ban in France. Journal of European Management & Public Affairs Studies 1(2): 11-16. 


Applied Sustainability Science: An Open Paradigm for Applied Geographers 

Conveners: Richard Ross Shaker (Ryerson University)

“Making progress towards sustainability is like going to a destination we have never visited before, equipped with a sense of geography and the principles of navigation, but without a map or compass” (Hales and Prescott 2002:6). Sustainable development focuses on two key concepts: 1) providing essential needs to the world's poor through overriding priority; and 2) that technology and social organization has limits to the environment's ability to meet humanity's present and future needs. In general, the term “sustainability” should be viewed as humanity's target goal of human-ecosystem equilibrium (homeostasis), while “sustainable development” refers to the holistic approach and temporal processes that lead us to the end point of sustainability. Geography is positioned to be a leader in the focused field of applied sustainability science. Sustainability science, studied by a diverse group of disciplines, has traditionally focused on understanding the complex dynamics that arise from the interactions between humans and environmental systems. Although sustainability is widely accepted as a goal for humanity, there remains no agreed upon strategy for humanity to achieve it. Further, it has been supported by several, that there will remain a need to operationalize theory into applied practice until global sustainability is reached. Since geography is devoted to developing and utilizing approaches to resolve human problems that have a spatial dimension, and it has set out to understand relevant societal, physical, and coupled human-environmental systems, it is a keystone for progressing applied sustainability science. In this session, the concepts of space and scale are unifying ground where scientists and practitioners can collaborate in producing shared knowledge for enhancing applied sustainability science. Possible topics for this session include: indicators, climate change, sustainable urbanization, co-evolution, population growth, globalization, urban ecology, resilience, GIScience, spatial analysis, scale, spatial ecology, data, land use, and technology. 


 Global production networks and the environment: Exploring the connections

Conveners: Stefano Ponte (Copenhagen Business School), Aarti Krishnan (University of Manchester) and Valentina De Marchi (University of Padova)

Research on global production networks (GPNs) and global value chains (GVCs) (hereafter GPNs) has made considerable progress in understanding how firms participate in the global economy and the associated development outcomes. Much of this work has long had a preoccupation with the economic dimensions of integrating into the global economy, including through an interest in how participants can upgrade and capture more value from participating in GPNs. Such work has helped understand the economic governance of inter-firm relations, as well as the societal, network and territorial embeddedness of actors in GPNs. More recently a rapidly growing body of work has explored in greater depth the social dimensions of incorporation in GPNs, which has had a particular emphasis on the implications for labour. Yet research has not yet been adequately able to conceptually and empirically study the interactions between GPNs and the environment (Bolwig et al., 2010) and verify if and how the pursuit of environmental upgrading may be accompanied by economic and social upgrading as well. 


Some earlier work has attempted to explore the relationships between economic globalisation and the environment (e.g. Bridge 2002, Leichenko and O’Brien, 2008), while others have begun to investigate environmental upgrading trajectories across various GPNs (De Marchi et al., 2013a, b, Jeppesen and Hansen, 2004). Greater consideration of the environment and the processes of environmental upgrading and its outcomes is of fundamental importance and could challenge our understanding of GPNs. Further research of this kind can shed light on sustainable production and consumption processes (a sustainable development goal) of participants at global, regional and local scales. These sustainability priorities require attention as firms are now prioritising green growth and must adapt to meet private and public environmental standards as well as consumer expectations. Meanwhile environmental movements can also contest the activities of actors in GPNs. GPN approaches can improve our understanding of the impact of climate change and extremes on participants, as well as prospects for resilience.  


This session seeks to provide a platform for the investigation of various approaches to GPNs/ GVCs and the environment. We welcome conceptual as well as theoretically-informed empirical papers addressing (but not limited to) one or more of the following topics:

·      Environmental governance and GPNs
·      Buyer-supplier relationship to achieve environmental upgrading in GPNs
·       Environmental upgrading, including its relationship with economic and social upgrading
·       Environmental embeddedness, including its relationships with societal, territorial and network embeddedness
·       Environment standards and GPNs
·       Environment and public governance in GPNs
·      Socio-technical transitions in GPNs
·      Environmental struggle and resistance in GPNs
·       GPNs and environmental outcomes
·       Climate change, climate extremes and resilience in GPNs
·       Methodologies to assess the environment in GPNs


Anyone interested in presenting a paper in this session should submit an abstract of up to 250 words to Aarti Krishnan (aarti.krishnan-2[at]manchester.ac.uk) by Friday 2ndOctober 2015.



Bolwig, S., Ponte, S., duToit, A., Riisgaard, L. Halberg, N. (2010). Integrating Poverty and Environmental Concerns into Value-Chain Analysis: A Conceptual Framework. Development policy review, 2:173–194. 
Bridge, G. (2002). Grounding Globalization: The Prospects and Perils of Linking Economic Processes of Globalization to Environmental Outcomes. EconomicGeography78(3): 361-386.
De Marchi V., Di Maria E., Micelli S., (2013b). “Environmental Strategies, Upgrading and Competitive Advantage in Global Value Chains”, Business Strategy & the Environment, 22(1):62-72.
De Marchi V., Di Maria E., Ponte S. (2013a). “The Greening of Global Value Chains: Insights from the Furniture Industry”, Competition & Change, 17(4): 299-318.
Jeppesen, S., Hansen, M. W. (2004). Environmentalupgrading of third world enterprises through linkages to transnational corporations. Theoretical perspectives and preliminary evidence. Business Strategy and the Environment13(4): 261-274.
Leichenko, R.,  O'Brien, K. (2008). Environmental change and globalization: Double exposures. Oxford University Press.


Delta Cities: Urbanism, Ecology and Resistance in Watery Landscapes

Convener: Jacob Shell (Temple University)

This paper session will look at the political and ecological experiences of cities and other human communities in delta environments (at river mouths or in inland deltas).  Papers should, among other things, somehow touch upon, explore, or weave together these two themes:

One, papers should look at how river deltas have been valorized, marginalized, exploited, or infrastructurally reengineered (the infill of swamps, the dredging of distributaries, the construction of canals, levees, highways, rail, etc.) by ruling political regimes.  

Two, papers should look at how delta communities have politically and ecologically interacted with and utilized the fluid qualities of their physical surroundings. This examination might touch upon questions like: How have indigenous, working-class and/or marginalized groups been pulled to the delta's unique natural resources and backwater spaces of refuge? How have the delta's labyrinthine passageways acted as channels of ethnolinguistic and political intermixing among outcast groups? How, if at all, have such communities responded to the problems often associated with delta environments (flooding, sinking, mosquitos, mold and rot, etc.)? Do such responses present a model for ruling regimes seeking new paradigms for urban development in delta areas; alternatively, do such practices somehow resist efforts at bureaucratization?

Papers dealing with historical periods are encouraged, as are papers dealing with the present day.

Please email paper abstracts, or questions you might have, to Prof. Jacob Shell (jacob.shell[at]temple.edu) by October 2.


Smart + Sustainable? A critical look at digitally-enabled green urbanism
Conveners: Alexander Aylett (National Institute for Scientific Research, INRS-UCS) and Andrés Luque-Ayala, (Durham University)

Is the "smart cities" movement delivering on its aspirations of creating environmentally sustainable cities? One of the pillars of smart urbanism has been the claim that smart cities can also be radically more sustainably. New urban digital technologies, data-driven governance, and digitally-enabled citizenship are celebrated for their ability to increase resource efficiency and enable innovative shifts towards more deeply sustainable cities. But no sustained critical attention has been paid to the potential and pitfalls of this digitally-enabled green urbanism.

This session provides a critical overview of the successes and challenges of creating cities that are both smart and sustainable. It looks at how digital processes-and the urban embedding of computational logics-affect the environmental capabilities of cities and citizens. It also explores the broader socio-political implications of creating an interface between sustainability and digital narratives as a driving force behind current approaches to urban issues.

Understandings of smart cities and digital urbanism have benefited from over a decade of dynamic debates covering their technical, economic, democratic, and social implications (Crang and Graham, 2007; Kitchin et al., 2011; Townsend, 2013; Hollands, 2015; Luque-Ayala and Marvin, 2015). A similarly rich body of work has engaged with the theory and practice of urban sustainability (Bulkeley, 2006; Rutland and Aylett, 2008; Rutherford and Coutard, 2014). With limited exceptions (e.g. Gabrys, 2014; Viitanen and Kingston, 2014) these conversations rarely meet, and a focused engagement with smart approaches to urban sustainability has yet coalesce. This multi-disciplinary session(s) is open to both researchers and practitioners. We welcome submissions in the following key areas:

•    Ways of Knowing and Understanding the ICT-enabled Green City: How are new digital technologies affecting how we understand the environmental impacts of cities and their vulnerability to environmental threats? This includes digital understandings of urban metabolisms, climate change, and urban resilience. It may also critically explore how ICT tools and logics affect how both urban natures and urban sustainability are envisioned, what environmental rationalities are at play and goals are set, and what areas of action and types of intervention are proposed.

•    Digitally Enabled Urban Environmental Management: What impacts are new smart technologies and data driven policy making having on the management of urban sustainability? This may include critical reflections on the pursuit of efficiency and optimization, and on the use of new technologies in policy making, implementation, monitoring, or evaluation. Similarly, how digital sensors and other interventions are used to manage environmental crises and alter socio-ecological flows (e.g. energy, water, waste, transportation, air quality).

•    Digital Responses to Climate Change: How-and with what implications-are smart and digital systems being mobilized in response to the urban challenges of climate change? How are actually existing smart cities (and smart city initiatives) addressing the climate challenge? This includes attention to the mobilization of ICT technologies towards low carbon urban systems, urban resilience based on smart/digital narratives, and technologically-based strategies towards climate adaptation.
•    Digital Green Innovation: What is the role of ICT as a tool and catalyst for innovation in the urban sustainability sector?  This may focus on public interventions, grass root initiatives, green hackatons and eco-social innovation, or private and for-profit ventures. Exploring digitally enabled civic environmentalism, various forms of urban experimentation, or the role of smart systems/narratives in green economic development models (ranging from neo-liberal ecological modernization to emerging understandings of economies as localized, diverse, and collaborative)

•    ICT, Environmental Governance, Power and Politics: What are the impacts of new ICT technologies on urban environmental governance and the relationships between local government, citizens, NGOs, and the private sector? This spans the tensions that exist between hierarchical and horizontal visions of digital environmental governance. It includes concerns over the creation of technocratically managed and surveilled environmental subjects. But also explorations of digitally enabled environmental advocacy and activism, participatory planning, the coordination of complex coalitions of action, and other emerging forms of digitally mediated urban environmental citizenship.

Abstracts of 250 words should be should be submitted to both organizers
(a.e.luque[at]durham.ac.uk and alexander.aylett[at]ucs.inrs.ca) for consideration for inclusion in the session by October 9th 2014. Participants will be notified by October 16th and will then need to register for the conference by October 29th in order to be included in the session. Please include the phrase "smart green AAG 2016" in the subject line of your e-mail.


Bulkeley H. (2006) Urban sustainability: learning from best practice? Environment and planning A 38: 1029-1044.
Crang M and Graham S. (2007) Sentient Cities: Ambient intelligence and the politics of urban space. Information, Communication & Society 10: 789-817.
Gabrys J. (2014) Programming environments: environmentality and citizen sensing in the smart city. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32: 30-48.
Hollands RG. (2015) Critical interventions into the corporate smart city. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 8: 61-77.
Kitchin R, Dodge M and Dodge M. (2011) Code/Space: software and everyday life, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Luque-Ayala A and Marvin S. (2015) Developing a critical understanding of smart urbanism? Urban Studies: 0042098015577319.
Rutherford J and Coutard O. (2014) Urban energy transitions: places, processes and politics of socio-technical change. Urban Studies 51: 1353-1377.
Rutland T and Aylett A. (2008) The work of policy: actor networks, governmentality, and local action on climate change in Portland, Oregon. Environment and planning D 26: 627-646.
Townsend A. (2013) Smart Cities: Big data, civic hackers, and the quest for a new utopia, New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company.
Viitanen J and Kingston R. (2014) Smart cities and green growth: outsourcing democratic and environmental resilience to the global technology sector. Environment and Planning A 46: 803-819.


Governing Extraction/ Experiencing Extraction

Conveners: Heather Bedi (Dickinson College) and Amanda Wooden (Bucknell University)



Nationalism, energy sovereignty, and other state-led narratives justify extraction for myriad reasons, including manufacturing consent (Hudgins and Poole 2014). In the name of sovereignty, some governments nationalize mining operations (Perreault 2012). The nationalization of extraction resources may create new spaces for profit (Ross 2012), and can impact political and development trends (Andreasson 2014). Even in nations with partial or no nationalization of resource extraction, narratives of national identity and security may drive particular practices. For example, India relies heavily on coal to achieve the nations ‘energy aspirations’ (Coal India Limited 2014), while Obama justifies expanded hydraulically fractured natural gas to achieve energy independence in the United States. “Frack a well, bring a soldier home” is a commonly seen billboard in shale gas drilling country in the U.S. (Russell 2013). Energy corporations often mobilize these state-centric narratives to generate public support, yet are harshly critical of national sovereignty arguments when threatened with partial nationalization.


The geographies of extraction extend these national priorities into local realities for those living close to and/ or working within sites of extractions (Russell 2013). This session seeks to explore these national trends in the global energy sector context, while putting them in conversation with everyday extraction. Nations justify rapid expansion of extraction to meet growing domestic energy requirements, nationalism goals, and/ or other ambitions, but how are these priorities experienced for those living at or close to sites of extraction, resource transportation or processing? We welcome empirically grounded papers that engage within and across scales of extraction, reflecting on national and local extraction governance experiences and perhaps global connections at work in shaping these encounters. 


Please email your suggested paper titles and abstracts of 200 words by August 17th to: bedih[at]dickinson.edu, awooden[at]bucknell.edu