Key MacFarlane deposited Time, Waste, and the City: The Rise of the Environmental Industry in the group Urban Studies on Humanities Commons 3 months, 3 weeks ago
In many US cities, especially those in the Rust Belt, the environmental goods and services (EGS) industry has played a significant role in restructuring local economies to promote new, flexible, and “creative” forms of service-based labour. And yet much of the environmental work conducted in these cities has been directed at an industrial past, cleaning up the waste left over from long-departed manufacturing sectors. Returning to David Harvey’s earlier work on the urban process, this paper develops a theory of waste switching that situates EGS within a larger renegotiation of space and time across city landscapes. This theory is fleshed out in case studies of the EGS industry in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee, where new cycles of accumulation have been built on refuse, toxins, and dead labour. These “toxi-cities” and their cleanup challenge traditional conceptions of urbanisation as spatially—but also temporally—bounded.