Urban transitions for climate justice : a comparison of the ecological justice of two approaches to urban planning that addresses climate change : the Transition Movement and Smart Cities.
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Policy and Governance
Cities and urban communities are facing some of the most significant impacts of climate change. In the coming years, these impacts on transport, housing, food security and the natural environment will have profound adverse effects on people and planet. Against this challenging backdrop, this research asks: in what ways and to what extent can urban policy and planning to address climate change also foster and advance ecological justice?
This thesis identifies three principles of ecological justice: participation, recognition and capabilities. These principles are used to examine the Transition Movement and the Smart Cities approach to urban planning. This is achieved through an in-depth literature review, a case study analysis of both urban planning approaches, and six indicative interviews with community advocates and local government representatives.
This thesis argues that while neither approach truly satisfies the criteria for ecological justice, the Transition Movement’s community-based approach tends to emphasise comparatively higher levels of engagement, participation and recognition. The rights and protections of non-human life and the natural environment need to be significantly strengthened in both planning approaches if genuinely fair and just ecological outcomes are desired.