AAG 2011 CFP – Land use conflicts

A growing literature on land use conflict highlights the complexity of issues and the wide-ranging involvement of a diversity of social actors in the struggle over land use at the intersection of the ‘urban’ and ‘rural’. These conflicts arise in the context of the changing role of governance and the state, hegemonic constructions of economic growth, tensions between use and exchange value, competing visions of land use planning and regionalism, and diverse constructions of space, place and nature. In urbanized areas in the global north, conflicts often emerge between new development and the conservation of green space, farmland and natural amenities. Although conflicts are often framed as specific siting issues (e.g. the location of wind farms, pipelines, energy projects, or highways that serve urbanized areas), they also encompass contestations over the transformation of land uses. At the rural-urban periphery, land use conflicts often emerge in response to resource-based and nature conservation project proposals, e.g. aggregates, water and aquifers, and farmland conservation. Proposals for land use change are increasingly contested by citizen activists and social movements at various scales. Competing discursive strategies vie to shape the form and content of policies.  In some places, this has resulted in alternative and innovative policy processes and policy implementation.

We are anticipating several sessions that aim to develop a broader understanding and critical reflection that moves beyond a site-specific or sectoral case study analysis to address the cross-cutting theoretical and policy frameworks that connect land use conflicts in the rural-urban periphery. We encourage participants from a range of theoretical perspectives, such as political ecology, social nature, social movements, critical urban theory, regime theory, feminist geography, political geography, urban geography, and interpretive policy analysis. We also encourage papers on land conflicts on the rural-urban periphery in the global south and global north.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

·        conflicts at the confluence of the urban and rural, including challenges to development projects, sprawl and farmland preservation
·        social movements and land-use conflict: how actors mobilize and strategize, either to challenge or promote land-use change
·        perceptions and constructions of nature vis-à-vis land use conflicts
·        conflicts around siting of ‘dirty things’ or other ‘locally unwanted land uses’ (LULUs): pipelines, sewers, roads, waste dumps, electricity generating facilities, and alternative energy such as wind and solar farms
·        contestations around natural resource extraction (e.g., aggregates)
·        problematizing NIMBY, both in terms of defensive, preservationist localism, as well as strategic dismissal of opposition through NIMBY accusations
·        tensions of land development and conflict around urban plans; the role of state actors in developing land-use policies and regulating land-use changes; the role of developers and private sector actors in land use conflicts; the role planning practices may play in framing and reframing conflicts;
·        policy and legislative approaches to managing conflicts and their outcomes; analysis of competing discourses and policy stories
·        land grabs “accumulation by dispossession” in urban areas of the global south and global north
·        water wars in  urban areas of the global south and global north

Please submit a 200 word abstract by September 3, 2011 at the latest (we encourage earlier submission) to Gerda Wekerle (gwekerle@yorku.ca), Faculty of Environmental Studies and Donald Leffers (dleffers@yorku.ca), Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, Canada.

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