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Organising waste in the city

Organising waste in the city: International perspectives on narratives and practices

María José Zapata Campos
C. Michael Hall
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Organising waste in the city
    Book Description:

    This book offers a critical perspective on the issue of organising waste in cities, which has often been positioned in terms of relatively narrow engineering, economic and physical science approaches. It emphasises the ways in which the notion of waste, and the narratives and discourses associated with it, have been socially constructed with corresponding implications for waste governance and local waste handling practices. Organising waste in the city takes a broad and international approach to the ways in which the issue of waste is framed, and brings together narratives from cities as diverse as Amsterdam, Bristol, Cairo, Gothenburg, Helsingborg and Managua. Organised into four main sections and with an integrative introduction and conclusion, the book not only provides new insights into the hidden stories of urban and municipal household solid waste and waste landscapes, but also connects concerns regarding urban waste to such issues as globalisation, governance, urban ecology, and social, economic and environmental justice.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0638-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of figures and tables
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. vi-vii)
  5. Notes on contributors
    (pp. viii-x)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. ONE Introduction: narratives of organising waste in the city
    (pp. 1-18)
    María José Zapata Campos and C. Michael Hall

    The challenges of climate and environmental change and the contribution of cities to global warming and natural resource depletion make the issue of sustainable urban waste governance crucial for contemporary urban spaces and for their wider ecological footprint. However, while some of the issues surrounding the governance of waste have been identified in the contemporary literature, relatively little attention has been given to the various, often highly contested, ways in which waste and its governance are framed. This book offers a critical social sciences perspective on the issue of organising waste in cities. Often positioned in terms of relatively narrow...

  8. Part I: Spaces, places and sites of waste in the city

    • TWO The ecological and environmental significance of urban wastelands and drosscapes
      (pp. 21-40)
      C. Michael Hall

      Waste is a major theme in urban planning and landscape design. However, while the majority of chapters in this book focus on urban waste in the form of household and industrial waste, this chapter examines waste and more particularly wastelands in the urban spatial context. Waste is a difficult concept to define yet, as Blaustein (2011: 5) observes, ‘our cultural definitions and regulations of waste are central to the ordering of our environments and ourselves’ (see also Kennedy, 2007). Blaustein (2011: 5) argues that ideas of waste are ‘registered in terms of space (blight, sprawl, vacancy), time (waiting, boredom, drudgery),...

    • THREE The function of waste urban infrastructures as heterotopias of the city: narratives from Gothenburg and Managua
      (pp. 41-60)
      María José Zapata Campos

      This chapter uses the notion of heterotopia (Foucault, 1986) to rethink the functions and meanings of waste urban infrastructures, based on narratives of waste from the cities of Managua in Nicaragua and Gothenburg in Sweden. A heterotopia is a physical representation of a utopia, or a parallel space that contains undesirable bodies to make a real utopian space possible, such as a prison or a cemetery. Foucault divides all spaces into ordinary and extraordinary. The extraordinary are divided into utopias, or unreal places, and heterotopias, which are real:

      There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places...

  9. Part II: Global waste discourses and narratives shaping local practices

    • FOUR When clean and green meets the Emerald Isle: contrasting waste governance narratives in Ireland and New Zealand
      (pp. 63-82)
      Anna Davies

      Although attention to waste governance has burgeoned over the last decade, progressing both theoretical understanding (see Bulkeley et al, 2007) and policy tool development (Hill et al, 2002), most of this work has focused either in-depth on one country or by examining particular mechanisms at a general level across widely varying nations or regions (see Parto, 2005). Both approaches have generated significant advances in understanding how governance practicesin totoevolve in particular spaces, and how specific governing tools are applied through time and space, but neither provides extended comparative commentary. The aim of this chapter is, drawing on earlier...

    • FIVE Waste in translation: global ideas of urban waste management in local practice
      (pp. 83-96)
      Patrik Zapata

      The multiplicity of global actors leads to a variety of ideas on what sustainable waste management is and should be. Global organisations bring with them their definitions, problematisations, policies, plans, technologies and management models on how to handle waste locally. The local practice is therefore affected considerably by global organisations, especially in the global South where global actors are often represented via development programmes in which global ideas are promoted and proposed.

      Managua, Nicaragua, is a local representation of such a multiplicity of global actors. In Managua, six out of seven development projects carried out by the local government in...

  10. Part III: Waste governance and management practices

    • SIX Governance in a bottle
      (pp. 99-120)
      Dario Minervini

      This chapter deals with the Italian way of waste management from an empirical point of view, with the aim of showing how this policy is translated into sociotechnical practice. So, neither theoretical normative models nor a priori mechanisms of governance are verified here, but the network of formal and informal interaction is retraced, focusing on a localised and specific experience of waste management. In particular there is an attempt to analyse a specific part of Italian waste governance, consisting of a practice of glass sorting and collection, in a southern Italian city.

      The practice is the starting point in retracing...

    • SEVEN Hybrid organisations in waste management: public and private organisations in a deregulated market environment
      (pp. 121-138)
      Philip Marcel Karré

      The state and the market are two distinct sectors: whereas the state (or public sector) looks out for the common good, the market’s (or private sector’s) main objective is to realise a profit. Both sectors have their own set of rules, norms and values, and thus very distinct cultures. Waste management operates in the border area of these two sectors. This holds true for both the supply and the demand side: we see both public and privatecustomers(in many countries, collecting and disposing of household waste is a statutory task of [local] governments, while for businesses, disposing of waste...

    • EIGHT Waste management companies: critical urban infrastructural services that design the sociomateriality of waste
      (pp. 139-156)
      Hervé Corvellec and Johan Hultman

      In this chapter, we demonstrate that waste management companies participate in a decisive manner in the design of the sociomateriality of waste, and that this participation gives them a particularly important role for urban development. The sociomateriality of waste refers to the way organisations and individuals engage with the materiality of waste in the course of their daily operations and everyday life (Gregson, 2009). Sociomateriality is not fixed. Instead, the sociomateriality of waste is contingent on the social understanding that people have of the nature, origins and destiny of waste as material. It encompasses different dimensions as to how waste...

  11. Part IV: Waste and environmental, economic and social justice

    • NINE Cairo’s contested waste: the Zabaleen’s local practices and privatisation policies
      (pp. 159-180)
      Wael Fahmi and Keith Sutton

      This chapter takes up several themes and issues closely relevant to this book’s central focus on organising waste in cities. A major theme concerns the conflict between Cairo’s rubbish collectors’ low-technology approach to solid waste management and disposal by the Zabaleen, and a high-technology approach carried out by large companies employing wage labour. This theme is related to Leonard’s study of the Irish community narratives of mobilisation and struggle against state regional waste plans (see Chapter Ten), as the Zabaleen’s case study raises such questions as, can a grassroots indigenous system of recycling waste resist being taken over by a...

    • TEN Ecomodern discourse and localised narratives: waste policy, community mobilisation and governmentality in Ireland
      (pp. 181-200)
      Liam Leonard

      When examining issues in Irish waste management, many competing tensions begin to surface. These include tensions between the policy discourse of ecological modernisation and the local narratives by which communities relate to their environment. Furthermore, tensions can be detected between the demands of international bodies such as the European Union (EU), who demand efficient and regulated waste policies, and the more economically derived focus of the Irish state. The following analysis of Irish waste management explores the dichotomies between the discourse and narrative that surrounds this contested issue.

      The chapter is divided into five main sections and a conclusion. The...

    • ELEVEN Waste collection as an environmental justice issue: a case study of a neighbourhood in Bristol, UK
      (pp. 201-222)
      Karen Bell and David Sweeting

      Despite recent attempts to improve urban waste management through increased recycling, insufficient attention has been paid to the social and distributional impacts of waste policy. This omission means that such changes appear to have reinforced environmental injustices through the re/production of inequitable social burdens and benefits. This chapter argues that, if policy makers were to consider waste management through the frame of ‘environmental justice’, such problems could be avoided. This assertion is illustrated by analysing household waste and recycling in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in the city of Bristol, UK, where we are both resident. We provide evidence of unequal and...

  12. TWELVE Conclusions: framing the organising of waste in the city
    (pp. 223-236)
    C. Michael Hall and María José Zapata Campos

    This concluding chapter now returns to the goal of the book to frame the following synthesis of the main findings from across all the chapters, noting the similarities and dissimilarities between cities, societies and cultures confronted in the book. We conclude with an exploration of the implications drawn for future waste policy governance.

    The aim of the book was to emphasise the ways in which the notion of waste, and the narratives and discourses associated with it, are socially constructed with corresponding implications for the governance of waste and the local wasting practices in cities. Below are some tentative responses...

  13. Index
    (pp. 237-242)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 243-243)