Equity and justice in social-ecological systems

Chair:  Zoé Hamstead,  (zhamstead@gmail.com), (zoe@newschool.edu)
Co-chair:  Luis Inostroza, (luis.inostroza@rub.de)

Short  Description:
Cities are highly complex systems anysotropilcally structured across space and time. In recent decades, urban ecology scholarship has examined social-ecological relationships that describe distributional outcomes, i.e., how environmental benefits and burdens are distributed across space, time and social groups. Early on, urban ecology scholars recognized that urban ecosystems are highly heterogeneous over relatively fine scales. A growing body of research fed by social scientists become concerned with relating these heterogeneous ecological patterns with socioeconomic and demographic patterns, and describing ecosystems as distributional burdens and benefits. While there is a need to continue developing our understanding of these distributional outcomes, there is also a need to develop more robust theoretical frameworks for understanding the processes through which such patterns are produced and reproduced. Such an understanding would require a more full integration of social equity and justice with urban ecology.
Environmental justice scholarship has extended beyond an examination of distributional outcomes to theorize ways in which participatory injustice and misrecognition produce those distributional outcomes. Moreover, political economy theories like racial capitalism may help to explain ways in which social separateness is embedded in processes of economic development that determine landscape patterns, produce residential locations, and the social-ecological risks to which they are exposed. This session is motivated by a need to bring together research on social-ecological patterns with theoretical developments for integrating landscape and urban ecology with political economy and social justice. We welcome empirical and conceptual papers that examine urban ecology and social-ecological systems from a social justice perspective.