• GROWING THE GREEN CITY: NAVIGATING THE TENSIONS OF VALUE-FREE DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY IN PHILADELPHIA

      Shlay, Anne B.; Wray, Matt, 1964-; Mason, Robert J., 1955-2017; Featherstone, Jeffrey P. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      This dissertation focuses on the relationship between sustainability and growth as it plays out through sustainable development projects in Philadelphia. Cities are interested in adopting policies and practices that will make them greener. In 2009, Philadelphia adopted its first sustainability plan, Greenworks, and throughout the past decade, many other cities have adopted similar plans. This has happened at the same time that cities have attempted to address their shrinking populations and coffers by aggressively pursuing pro-growth strategies. This dissertation explores the tension between growth and sustainability and, given this tension, how the process of sustainable development plays out in Philadelphia. This research focuses on green building and urban greening projects using a single-case embedded case study design. Projects of varying scales are examined - including large- and small-scale sustainable development projects. Data comes primarily from in-depth interviews, which were conducted over the course of one year with project managers, sustainability professionals, government bureaucrats, and community members, among others. The data from these interviews are supplemented with historical archival records, open government records, and other primary and secondary sources. This research highlights two tensions in the sustainable development process. First, the politics of development give rise to a tension between exchange value and use value. On one hand are powerful urban actors who believe that development of urban space should be value-free, or guided by the free market. On the other are community members who may value the space for another purpose. The second tension is between different approaches to resource use in urban development. Most measures of economic success are tied to growth, or the extent to which we collectively produce and consume goods. However, the production of goods is fueled by natural resources, which are dwindling. There is a tension between how pro-growth and pro-sustainability actors view resource use. This research contributes to the literature by examining the relationship between these tensions, or how the value-free politics of development are reconciled with the crisis of natural resource consumption. The results of this analysis show that sustainability initiatives are treated by powerful urban actors as means to a growth-oriented end, rather than as ends in themselves. This is true even when these actors frame their discussions of sustainability in ideological terms. They believe that sustainability is a worthy endeavor, insofar as it also coincides with a growth-oriented agenda. The production of green buildings and green open places supports green place making, which is an important component of commodifying - and growing - the green city. The tension between sustainability and growth, however, are a point of weakness where traditional growth-oriented politics of development may be challenged.