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Green Debris: The Byproducts of Sustainable Urbanism
By Lindsey Dillon

November 19, 2015 1 :00 – 2:30 PM
Genomics 1102A (reception afterward)

Lindsey Dillon is a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis, in the American Studies Program. Her work focuses on environmental justice, urban ecologies, and histories of race and racism in U.S. cities. She received her Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley in 2014. In addition to writing a book manuscript on environmental inequalities and race in San Francisco, her other research projects include chemical biomonitoring technologies and a collaborative project on “critical sustainabilities”. She also serves on the board of the California Studies Association and teaches at San Quentin Prison. In 2016 she will begin as Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz.

The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard redevelopment project, in southeast San Francisco, is widely recognized as a model of sustainable urbanism. Today, the US Navy is cleaning up the polluted military base, while a development company is in the process of replacing the shipyard with a 700-acre urban landscape of condominiums, offices, and parks, which includes green design features such as solar panels, energy efficient street lamps, and restored coastal habitats. At the same time, the cleanup and new construction work of this sustainable development project have its own toxic side effects – releasing dusts and other airborne contaminants into the low-income community currently living near the shipyard. For many residents in Hunters Point today, sustainable urbanism is more of a dystopia than an ecotopia. In this presentation, I argue that the dominant notion of sustainability at Hunters Point is only possible through a set of exclusions and erasures, and that sustainability at the shipyard today is part of a longer history of how ideas of nature have worked to exclude and erase certain bodies and histories from the landscape. I also explore alternative analytical frameworks that enable a critical evaluation of contemporary sustainability projects, and bring us closer to realizing more socio-ecologically just futures.

Co-sponsored by the Gender & Sexuality Studies Department and the Center for Ideas & Society

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