Addressing place in climate change mitigation: Reducing emissions in a suburban landscape

Knuth, S.E. (2010) Addressing place in climate change mitigation: Reducing emissions in a suburban landscape. Applied Geography, 30 (4). pp. 518-531.

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Federal political deadlock has long forced progressive climate change mitigation efforts in the United States to target greenhouse gas emissions and reduction options at regional, state, urban, and local levels. Even as a national mitigation agenda solidifies, researchers and political actors might strategically maintain local places and types of landscape – center cities, older and newer suburbs, and rural areas in different United States regions – as distinct spheres for analysis and action. This local articulation permits ongoing analysis of how place/landscape type-specific conditions structure everyday greenhouse gas emissions and the prospects for reducing them. As such, it promotes mitigation programs that encompass broad, long-term infrastructure and lifestyle transformations for energy efficiency and conservation; not only top-down changes to energy generation technologies. Participatory climate change mitigation research in the Philadelphia suburbs demonstrates how geographically particular metropolitan development patterns shape the prospects for two such policies, residential energy efficiency improvement and the promotion of local food systems. The sprawling suburb investigated here, with the center city its development has helped impoverish, challenges these mitigation options in particular and emissions reduction in general. Deeply problematic elements include both the landscape's ever-extending physical morphology and the socioeconomic inequalities that this built environment – and the stakeholders who build it – help to create and maintain. Reshaping this and other suburban landscapes can not only promote long-term climate change mitigation but also reduce vulnerability to climate change's unavoidable impacts.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Many thanks to the Montgomery County stakeholders who contributed their time and effort to the project, especially representatives from the Montgomery County Planning Commission.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change mitigation; Local place; Suburbs; Participatory methods; Energy efficiency; Local food
Author Affiliation: Department of Geography, The University of California – Berkeley, 507 McCone Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States
Subjects: Atmosperic Science > Climatology
Environmental Science
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Balakrishna Garadasu
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2013 13:24
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2013 13:24
Official URL:

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