Keywords: global environmental change, resilience, green issues, sustainability, political economy, urban development, regional development, eco-restructuring, materiality, uneven development, greenhouse gases, global warming, sustainable development, development strategies
Material matters and the search for resilience: rethinking regional and urban development strategies in the context of global environmental change
Recently it has become clear that the scale of environmental pollution because of human activities is expanding on a scale previously unimagined. The growth of greenhouse gases is producing perhaps irreversible changes with potentially apocalyptic consequences to the ecological systems on which life on earth as we know it depends. In part this growth reflects neoliberal strategies for urban and regional development that seek to maximise the global movement of people and things. This raises questions about how we think – or perhaps more accurately should think – about regional and urban development and possible transitions to more resilient and sustainable cities and regions as a necessary element in a transition to a more resilient and sustainable planet. Can those who live in the core cities and regions of the affluent global 'north' continue to rely on the global movements of commodities and people from distant regions to sustain their lifestyles? Can they assume that the wastes produced via their activities can continue to be dumped in the global commons or exported to places in the global 'south'? What will the looming global crisis of sustainability entail for both the theory and practice of regional and urban development?