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Form and Flow

The Spatial Politics of Urban Resilience and Climate Justice (Urban and Industrial Environments)

Kian Goh


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An examination of urban climate change response strategies and the resistance to them by grassroots activists and social movements.

Cities around the world are formulating plans to respond to climate change and adapt to its impact. Often, marginalized urban residents resist these plans, offering “counterplans” to protest unjust and exclusionary actions. In this book, Kian Goh examines climate change response strategies in three cities—New York, Jakarta, and Rotterdam—and the mobilization of community groups to fight the perceived injustices and oversights of these plans. Looking through the lenses of urban design and socioecological spatial politics, Goh reveals how contested visions of the future city are produced and gain power.
Goh describes, on the one hand, a growing global network of urban environmental planning organizations intertwined with capitalist urban development, and, on the other, social movements that themselves often harness the power of networks. She explores such initiatives as Rebuild By Design in New York, the Giant Sea Wall plan in Jakarta, and Rotterdam Climate Proof, and discovers competing narratives, including community resiliency in Brooklyn and grassroots activism in the informal “kampungs” of Jakarta. Drawing on participatory fieldwork and her own background in architecture and urban design, Goh offers both theoretical explanations and practical planning and design strategies. She reframes the critical concerns of urban climate change responses, presenting a sociospatial typology of urban adaptation and considering the notion of a “just” resilience. Finally, she proposes a theoretical framework for designing equitable and just urban climate futures.

Praise For Form and Flow: The Spatial Politics of Urban Resilience and Climate Justice (Urban and Industrial Environments)

“A timely contribution to the field... Form and Flow contributes to a better understanding of the visions of urban futures developed in response to climate change.”
—Landscape Architecture Magazine

“A great look into the near future for these three cities—New York City, Rotterdam, and Jakarta—and a warning to other cities.”

“This book beautifully renders visible the connections and tensions between high-profile, expert oriented climate initiatives and on-the-ground, situated activist visions for more just urban futures under climate change.”
—Urban Studies

The MIT Press, 9780262543057, 298pp.

Publication Date: August 17, 2021

About the Author

Kian Goh is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning in the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.