Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University
in Medford, Massachusetts, USA Author, Speaker, Educator
Julian Agyeman Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, USA. He is the originator of the concept of ‘just sustainabilities,’ the intentional integration of social justice and sustainability, defined as ‘the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.’
“What our cities can become(sustainable, smart, sharing and resilient) and who is allowed tobelong in them (recognition of difference, diversity, and a right to the city) are fundamentally and inextricably interlinked. We must therefore act on both belonging and becoming, together, using just sustainabilities as the anchor, or face deepening spatial and social inequities and inequalities.”
Trained in the UK, he has a bachelors degree in Geography and Botany, a masters in Conservation Policy, and a doctorate in Urban Studies. Today he identifies himself as a critical urban planning and environmental social science scholar. His combined science and social science background, together with extensive experience in local government, consulting, working for, and board-level advising of NGOs and community-based organizations, helps frame his perspectives, research and writing. This enables him to thrive at the borders and intersections of a wide range of disciplines, knowledges and methodologies which he uses in creative and original ways. He centers his research on critical explorations of the complex and embedded relations between humans and the urban environment, whether mediated by governments or social movement organizations, and their effects on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in relation to notions of justice and equity. He believes that what our cities can becom (sustainable, smart, sharing and resilient) and who is allowed to belong in them (recognition of difference, diversity, and a right to the city) are fundamentally and inextricably interlinked. We must therefore act on both belonging and becoming, together, using just sustainabilities as the anchor, or face deepening spatial and social inequities and inequalities.
Worldwide, he is recognized as an expert, an innovator and thought leader. In the top 20 most highly cited urban planning academics in North America, his wide-ranging and influential publications include Mind the Gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior? (2002). It is the most highly cited journal article by an urban planning academic in North America. In addition to its theoretical contributions, Mind the Gap continues to have great practical impact around the world, influencing think-tanks and government policy in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, France, Ireland, as well as within the European Commission and the United Nations (UNEP)andFAO), among others.
He is the author or editor of 11 books, including Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press, 2003),Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice(NYU Press, 2005),The New Countryside?: Ethnicity, Nation and Exclusion in Contemporary Rural Britain (Policy Press, 2006),Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union (MIT Press, 2009),Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada (UBC Press, 2010), Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability (MIT Press, 2011), Environmental Inequalities Beyond Borders: Local Perspectives on Global Injustices (MIT Press, 2011), Introducing Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice (Zed Books, 2013), Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities (Routledge, 2014) and Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities(MIT Press, 2015), one of Nature’s Top 20 Books of 2015. His latest book is Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice: From Loncheras to Lobsta Love (MIT Press, 2017). His next book, Immigration, Immigrants, Agriculture and Food in North America, is under contract with MIT Press.
He was co-founder in 1996, and is now Editor-in-Chief of Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. He is Series Editor of Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice published by Zed Books and Co-Editor of the Routledge Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City Series. He is also Contributing Editor to Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development and a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Environmental Education. Julian sits on the Academic Board of The Centre for the Future of Places (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden), the Board of Directors of EcoDistricts (Portland, OR, USA) and on the Advisory Boards of Shareable (San Francisco, USA), Participatory City (London, UK), Urban Sharing(Lund, Sweden), Sharecity (Dublin, Ireland), and the McConnell Foundation’s Cities for People and Future Cities Canada programs (Montréal, Canada). Julian was co-founder in 1988, and chair until 1994, of the Black Environment Network (BEN), the first environmental justice-based organization of its kind in Britain. In 1996, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) in the UK, a network of people dedicated to enriching society and shaping the future through ideas and action, and in 2016 he became a Fellow of the UK Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), the learned society and professional body advancing geography and supporting geographers. In 2018, he was awarded the Athena City Accolade by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, for his “outstanding contribution to the field of social justice and ecological sustainability, environmental policy and planning”. A highly sought after speaker, Julian presents his ideas at many academic, community and professional events, and appears on many panels, at venues around the world.
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