The event is co-sponsored by Birkbeck's Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, the Architecture Space and Society Research Centre, BIRMAC (Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Studies in Media, Art and Culture) and the Birkbeck Food Group.
Local activists engaged in contemporary environmental justice struggles not only fight against traditional forms of hazardous locally unwanted land uses (LULUs), they also organize to make their neighborhoods livable and green. However, urban environmental justice activism is at a crossroads: As marginalized neighborhoods become revitalized, outside investors start to value them again and they themselves invest in green amenities. Yet vulnerable residents are now raising concerns about the risk of displacement from their neighborhoods in consequence of environmental gentrification processes. Their fear is linked to environmental amenities such as new parks or remodeled waterfronts, as well as (most recently) healthy food stores. In this presentation, I examine how recent green urban redevelopment trends translate into possibly the ultimate urban environmental justice tragedy through new dynamics of marginalization which seem to accompany green projects or amenities. Such trends thus create a new paradox for academics, activists, and planners who defend an environmental justice agenda. Through case studies in the Global North and South, I examine how specific projects developed under the label or discourse of green infrastructure planning, urban sustainability planning, or sustainable local food systems, might become GREENLULUS – Green Locally Unwanted Land Uses – for long-term marginalized urban residents because such agendas and projects create new patterns of reinvestment, and often speculation, exclusion, and displacement of vulnerable residents.