With David Wachsmuth and Hillary Angelo, I’ve published a commentary essay in Nature in August 2016 that builds on our research and collective thinking, “Expand the frontiers of urban sustainability: Social equity and global impacts are missing from measures of cities’ environmental friendliness.” The piece argues that for urban sustainability policy to be both more effective, and more equitable, it needs to work with data that’s global in scope, and it needs to engage more people—in particular, national policymakers and social movement activists.
My dissertation, Street Fight: Urban Climate Politics in an Age of Finance and Revolt, investigates the intersection of socio-economic inequalities, housing-oriented social movements, and urban climate policy-making in global cities, with a focus on São Paulo and New York. My research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and a number of grants and research awards from Columbia and New York University. I completed my PhD in sociology at New York University in June 2016.
Several articles and chapters building on this research, and the theorizing that’s gone with it, are in the review and publication process.
Some of my research on São Paulo appeared in Public Culture in May 2016 in an essay called “The Rationed City: The politics of water, housing, and land use in drought-parched São Paulo.” The piece argues that the relationship between government actors, environmentalists and housing-oriented social movements, and fights over housing and land use, are the core dynamics of urban climate politics. To understand how scarce water is being rationed, and how it could be rationed, in cities in a warming world, we need to focus on those core dynamics.
In fall 2013, I was a visiting scholar at the Centro de Estudos da Metropole in São Paulo. In spring 2014, I co-organized a debate series about Democratizing the Green City; this past January we organized a more academic symposium further developing the theme. I’m also a co-founder and co-principal investigator of the Superstorm Research Lab, a mutual aid research collective investigating changes in New York’s politics after Superstorm Sandy.
In essays for a wider readership, I experiment with narratives about climate politics that foreground leisure and the sensual upside of of slashing carbon emissions. My favorites so far are Seize the Hamptons and Forget Fertility, Get Feral.
Future research interests include: the financial and investment challenges of building dense, livable suburbs; the relationship between democratic politics and expertise in both governance and labor; social movement organizing around commodity chains; re-wilding and de-extinction; climate violence; challenges and opportunities for progressive groups to develop and implement long-term strategies; precedents and prospects for low-carbon leisure for all; and, the role of anonymity in revolutionary politics.
I’ve been a writer and editor since getting started at the McGill Daily as an undergraduate in Montreal. After that, I worked as a journalist in Toronto and Cochabamba. I’m still writing: there are links to older and newer journalism here. Check my news page for updates and blog posts. I overshare more frequently as @aldatweets.
(Speaking of oversharing: Follow me on Academia.edu.)