Environmental justice in the context of urban green space availability, accessibility and attractiveness in postsocialist cities.

Chair:  Jakub Kronenberg , (kronenberg@uni.lodz.pl)
Chair: Co-chair:  Annegret Haase, (annegret.haase@ufz.de
                             Edyta Łaszkiewicz ,(edyta.laszkiewicz@uni.lodz.pl)

Short  Description:
Based on an article that positions postsocialist cities in the broader debate on urban environmental justice (forthcoming in Cities), this session will provide a forum to discuss urban green and blue spaces in the specific postsocialist context. The session will cross-cut through all three dimensions of justice (distributive, procedural and interactional/recognition) in the context of urban green and blue space provision. Environmental justice is still only an emerging topic in postsocialist cities, pulled back by market-orientation of society, privatization and primacy of private interests. The respective situation in postsocialist cities provides insights into the international debate on environmental justice, by highlighting some extremes related to neoliberal and populist governments. These issues are reinforced by a specific postsocialist legacy, which includes the broad tolerance for inequalities, lack of solidarity in society, lack of responsibility for the public interest, and the extreme individualization and disregard for the social interest. This gradually leads to the corporatization of local authorities and various business–government coalitions. This setting is more likely to welcome the business models related to the use and management of urban green and blue spaces, rather than the environmental justice discourse.
Benefiting from the location of the conference in Poland, a postsocialist country, and from the expected relatively high share of participants from postsocialist countries, the session leaders will run a participatory workshop. The participants will discuss specific theses prepared by the session leaders. These theses can then be developed, together with session participants, into a subsequent article.