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Functions of Sustainability: Exploring what urban sustainability discourse "does" in the Gothenburg Metropolitan Area
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies. (Space, Politics, Ecologies.)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1581-4731
Göteborgs universitet.
Länsstyrelsen, Västra Götaland.
2017 (English)In: Local Environment: the International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, ISSN 1354-9839, E-ISSN 1469-6711, no 460703961290Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies on urban sustainability policy often analyse what it is, could orshould be in terms of contents, objectives and rationale. Often neglected,however, is what sustainability discourse actually“does”. For this article,we explored the function of sustainability discourse in a collaborativemetropolitan governance process of 1998–2014 that resulted in aninfrastructural strategy aiming for“sustainable growth”in the GothenburgMetropolitan Area (GMA). We asked why sustainability had become ahegemonic concept in urban politics despite the paradoxical decouplingof objectives, outputs and outcomes from environmental protection andsocial equity in policy achievement. We argue that sustainability works asa vehicular idea that brings significant value to fragile governance arenasby functioning as a linguistic political mechanism with no essence otherthan the capability to attract positive affections for any coalition of actorswith the power to mobilise others. In the GMA, sustainability served as acohesive and mobilising discourse empowering a coalition of techno-economic experts to“get things done”and make an unruly city regiongovernable enough to develop infrastructure perceived as crucial for theadvancement of economic-growth projects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017. no 460703961290
National Category
Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-209018DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2017.1320538OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-209018DiVA: diva2:1109699
Funder
Mistra Urban Futures
Note

QC 20170706

Available from: 2017-06-14 Created: 2017-06-14 Last updated: 2017-07-06Bibliographically approved

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Tahvilzadeh, Nazem

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