CURE at the 2015 AAG in Chicago

Next year, several members of CURE will be attending the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago (April 21-25) to present the latest findings of their research. There will be sessions designed and organized by CURE members: sessions that will seek to offer cutting-edge empirical and theoretical insights into pressing environmental, socio-political and economic issues such as urban sustainability, resilience and austerity.

For more info, check out the CFPs below:

Sustainable urban design: from ideas to practice (organiser: Federico Cugurullo – CURE, University of Manchester)

In light of the environmental malaise affecting contemporary cities, urban design has recently emerged as a leading medium to achieve sustainability on an urban scale. There is a substantial body of evidence indicating the correlations between the design of cities and their environmental impact. The concept of sustainable urban design rejects the Modernist fracture between nature and the city, and embraces the idea of cities shaped to be in balance with natural environments. In practice, the proliferation of theories of sustainable urban design has led to the production of a number of heterogeneous urban projects characterized by the absence of a common denominator. Examples of sustainable urban design include low-tech approaches to urbanization such as compact cities, green infrastructure and bioregionalism, as well as high-tech solutions redolent of the smart city philosophy. This session aims to add empirical and theoretical richness to the understanding of sustainable urban design by examining and evaluating practices and theories of sustainability-focused urban design from across the world. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following: eco-cities; smart cities; green architecture and infrastructure; bioregional architecture and planning; cradle to cradle urbanism; urban regeneration. Potential contributors are invited to send abstracts to CFP Deadline: 3 November 2014

Photo by Federico Cugurullo
Photo by Federico Cugurullo

Planning Resilience in a Neoliberal Age (organisers: Paul O’Hare – Manchester Metropolitan University & Angela Connelly – CURE, University of Manchester).

There has been an increasing recognition that the nation-state cannot prevent natural disasters, which has resulted in a paradigm shift from “protection” to learning to live with risk; meaning that the social contract is being rewritten (Adger et al 2012). Meanwhile, private sector actors are stepping in to provide crucial security and climate functions, such as agricultural landowners permitting their lands to flood for incentive (Tompkins & Eakin 2012) or flood risk assessment companies that can provide consultancy expertise for a fee. Thus, the role of government continues to recede ever more into the distance, and risk is instead displaced onto the private sector and citizens. Political discourses around the seemingly mundane aspects of increasing resilience to extreme weather events, health issues and security reveal many tensions.  It is hard to argue against the fostering social ties and taking heed of local as well as expert knowledge. Yet, such language can be used to mask neoliberal tendencies towards reducing public provision and offering neither support nor a safety net to underpin citizen resilience (O’Hare & White 2013). Disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, continue to expose the vulnerability of even the so-called richer nations, and revealed deep and underlying environmental injustices (Harvey 2009). There are unresolved tensions between the role of the expert vis-à-vis communities, even though experimental approaches to flood risk management suggest that new configurations of experts and citizens can help to reduce risk (Lane et al 2011). The implications of the neo-liberalisation of man-made and natural disaster management is an issue that we believe has yet to be fully explored. This session is intended to open a dialogue between urban geographers, planners, and practitioners around the following themes and questions: Who is responsible for increasing citizen resilience? What happens when there is a failure or breach? How do intermediaries such as insurers operate, and how can they be held to account? Are there discernible similarities and/or differences across political scales and places? Are new vulnerabilities becoming evident in the move towards citizen responsibilisation? What new material practices are forged around increased citizen responsibilisation?

Photo by David Shankbone
Photo by David Shankbone

Intergenerational and life course geographies in times of crisis (organisers: Helena Pimlott-Wilson (Loughborough University) and Sarah Marie Hall (CURE, University of Manchester)

The global financial crisis of 2007-2009 has had catastrophic impacts on global, national, regional and local economic geographies. These impacts continue to play out in the form of job losses, pay cuts and short-hours working, depressed housing markets, public spending cuts and the rising cost of everyday goods, meaning that, for many people, the future remains somewhat bleak (JRF 2012). In particular, the impact on people’s everyday lives, relationships and practices is noteworthy (see Edwards and Weller 2010), and yet commentary on the recent economic crisis and period of austerity has tended to focus more on impacts to government, financial markets and business.This session aims to raise questions about the way in which the recent period of austerity affects experiences and ideas about the life course, the future and intergenerational relations. We are interested in both current lived experiences as well as imaginaries, including transitions in education, employment, housing and relationships, and encounters that are real and felt, abstract or imagined, and in/tangible. This session will explore all aspects of intergenerationality and the life course in the context of economic crisis. Topics prospective contributors might wish to address include, but are not limited to: critical approaches to life course aspirations; employment, unemployment and job insecurity (past, present and future); dimensions of the education-to-work transition including earnings, job security, occupational attainment and working conditions; coping strategies during, and experiences of, economic change; changing understandings of the markers of child/adulthood.
Title and abstract (maximum 250 words) should be sent to Helena Pimlott-Wilson ( and Sarah Marie Hall ( CFP deadline: 1 November 2014

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