City and Hinterland

Bennington College, 2012-2014

Cities have always been intimately connected to their rural hinterlands. The waterways and farmland surrounding cities gave rise to urban commerce and population density. In turn, urban growth resulted in the pollution and destruction of the natural environment. Urban life has been characterized as the antithesis of environmental lifestyles, where consumption reigns and people are divorced from their natural environments. Now, as rural to urban migration continues at rapid rates, cities face the new challenge of housing over half of the world's population. Many post‐industrial cities in the world's more developed countries have become leaders in environmental governance, supporting polices that are reclaiming polluted sites, conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fostering urban agriculture and mass transit. Urban residents are touted as having a lower carbon footprint than their rural counterparts. Can urban life really become sustainable?

Teaching this course led to a book chapter for Home Grown

ENV 4108 City and Hinterland course syllabus (pdf)