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Urban political ecologies of housing and climate change: the ‘Coolest Block’ Contest in Philadelphia

Edwards, G.A.S.; Bulkeley, H.

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G.A.S. Edwards


Urban authorities and a range of private and civil society actors have come to view housing as a key arena in which to address climate change whilst also pursuing wider social, economic and environmental objectives. Housing has been a critical area for urban studies, but often considered in sectoral terms and work on urban responses to climate change has followed this positioning. By contrast, an Urban Political Ecology (UPE) perspective would position housing in more integrated terms as part of the metabolism of the city. Yet so far there has been relatively little written in UPE about either housing or climate change. This paper therefore seeks to bring UPE into dialogue with the emergent literature focused on governing climate change through housing. It does so through a detailed study of the ‘Retrofit Philly “Coolest Block” Contest’. We argue that this contest highlights the ways climate change is changing the way housing is embedded in the circulations of the city, pointing to changes in who is governing housing, how housing is being governed and who is able to access the benefits of (climate change-branded) action on housing.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 22, 2015
Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2016
Publication Date Apr 1, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 5, 2016
Journal Urban Studies
Print ISSN 0042-0980
Electronic ISSN 1360-063X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Issue 5
Pages 1126-1141
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (274 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Edwards, G.A.S. and Bulkeley, H. (2017) 'Urban political ecologies of housing and climate change : the ‘Coolest Block’ Contest in Philadelphia.', Urban studies., 54 (5). pp. 1126-1141. Copyright © 2015 Urban Studies Journal Limited. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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