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Cities play a pivotal but paradoxical role in the future of our planet. As world leaders and citizens grapple with the consequences of growth, pollution, climate change, and waste, urban sustainability has become a ubiquitous catchphrase and a beacon of hope. Yet we know little about how the concept is implemented in daily life, particularly with regard to questions of social justice and equity. This volume provides a unique and vital contribution to ongoing conversations about urban sustainability by looking beyond the promises, propaganda, and policies associated with the concept in order to explore both its mythic meanings and the practical implications in a variety of everyday contexts. The authors present ethnographic studies from cities in eleven countries and six continents. Each chapter highlights the universalized assumptions underlying interpretations of sustainability while elucidating the diverse and contradictory ways in which people understand, incorporate, advocate for, and reject sustainability in the course of their daily lives.
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