Call for Papers: Sustainable Futures for Global Cities and Suburbs

The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University and Hofstra Cultural Center in partnership with Columbia University Center for Sustainable Urban Development and New York University Center for the Sustainable Built Environment present:

From the Outside In:  Sustainable Futures for Global Cities and Suburbs

A Conference at Hofstra University

Thursday-Saturday, November 8-10, 2012

This three-day conference will focus on sustainable futures in global city-regions, taking the suburbs as its starting point and working its way inward to the city center.  The conference will focus primarily on the New York metropolitan area, though we also seek participation from experts working in other cities around the world.

We seek an interdisciplinary discussion about sustainability that bridges the environmental, economic, and social spheres within complex urban regions.  While the insights of environmental science may guide efforts to reduce and mitigate the environmental effects of car-dependent suburban lifestyles, we must also consider how suburban and urban economics, politics, and cultures may limit or enable different forms of environmental stewardship, policy, and planning.  It is becoming clear, at many scales, that equity and environmental goals are often indivisible in building the political will needed to achieve sustainability.  It is thus critical to consider access to transportation, health care, and education in the context of social equity and environmental justice.

When considering the suburbs’ place within a metropolis that wrestles with environmental degradation and social inequality, it is also important to recognize variation among suburbs.   As suburbs of New York and other global cities are home to growing numbers of elderly, low-income, and immigrant residents, the conference will examine where the collective burdens fall today, how proposed solutions will affect particular groups, and how communities can be engaged in the decision-making process.

We plan to bring together academics, practitioners, and community leaders, so that they can identify barriers to achieving a sustainable region, as well as pioneering solutions for the future.  This conference will provide opportunities to share working models and visions for the sustainable suburb, and discuss how these solutions can be implemented.  We welcome proposals for individual papers, organized sessions, and round-tables that address a wide range of themes relevant to the future of metropolitan regions.  Topics might include, but are not limited to:

*       Sustainability and regional water, energy, waste, and transportation systems
*       Environmental justice and community engagement
*       The role of finance in creating a sustainable region
*       Green job creation
*       Methodological challenges in planning, measuring, and benchmarking sustainability
*       Affordability and the green suburb
*       Technological innovation and green industries
*       The effects of growing diversity on sustainability
*       Designing and retrofitting green suburbs, and certifying green buildings
*       The future of regional planning and Smart Growth
*       Pollution, brownfield redevelopment, and remediation in industrial suburbs
*       The role of government action and multiscalar collaboration
*       Social media and sustainability
*       Green activism and sustainability education
*       Climate change, hazards, and resiliency

Researchers will have an opportunity to submit their papers for review and possible publication in a special issue of the new Journal of Suburban Sustainability.

An abstract submission console is available at  Individual paper abstracts should be limited to 200 words and submitted through the conference website before March 15, 2012.  Proposals for organized paper sessions, panels, and round-tables should be sent to the conference directors, Robert Brinkmann and Christopher Niedt, at as soon as possible; please include the names and contact information for all confirmed and potential participants.  The organizers will confirm paper acceptance/rejection by mid-May.