The Land That Could Be: Environmentalism and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

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MIT Press, Aug 24, 2001 - Science - 340 pages
Environmentalist and lawyer William Shutkin describes a new kind of environmental and social activism spreading across the nation, one that joins the pursuit of environmental quality with that of civic health and sustainable local economies.

In this book, environmentalist and lawyer William Shutkin describes a new kind of environmental and social activism spreading across the nation, one that joins the pursuit of environmental quality with that of civic health and sustainable local economies. In the face of challenges posed by often corrosive market forces and widespread social disaffection, this civic environmentalism is creating nothing less than a new public discourse and dynamic social vision grounded in environmental action. Shutkin points the way to vibrant, sustainable communities through four inspiring examples of civic environmentalism in action: the redevelopment of contaminated urban land for agriculture in inner-city Boston, mass-transit-based development and waterfront restoration in Oakland, protection of open space and conservation-based development in rural Colorado, and smart-growth and sustainability strategies in suburban New Jersey. The book's underlying message is that the nation's environmental health is a critical factor in its success as a vital democracy. Social health, democratic community, and environmentalism, Shutkin shows, are one.

From the author's preface :"This book asserts that environmentalism is as much about protecting ordinary places as it is about preserving wilderness areas; as much about promoting civic engagement as it is about pursuing environmental litigation; and as much about implementing sound economic development strategies as it is about negotiating global climate change treaties. Ultimately, I believe, environmentalism is nothing less than about our conception of ourselves as a social and political community—what the bald eagle, our national symbol, really means."

 

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Contents

All Things Merge into One Making the Connection Between Environmentalism and Civic Life
21
The Environmental Consequences of Civic Decline
45
The Land That Could Be American Environmentalism and the Pursuit of Sustainable Communities
89
Urban Agriculture in Bostons Dudley Neighborhood A Modern Twist on Jeffersons Dream
143
Oaklands Fruitvale Transit Village Building an Environmentally Sound Vehicle for Neighborhood Revitalization
167
CommunityBased Conservation and ConservationBased Development in Rural Colorado
189
Smart Growth Community Planning and Cooperation in Suburban New Jersey
209
Coming Full Circle An Emerging Model of Environmentalism and Democracy
237
Notes
245
Index
263
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Page xiii - ... we and our country create one another, depend on one another, are literally part of one another; that our land passes in and out of our bodies just as our bodies pass in and out of our land; that as we and our land are part of one another, so all who are living as neighbors here, human and plant and animal, are part of one another, and so cannot possibly flourish alone; that, therefore, our culture must be our response to our place, our culture and our place are images of each other and inseparable...

About the author (2001)

William Shutkin is President and CEO of the Orton Family Foundation and a Research Affiliate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.

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