Critical Commentary. Waking from the Dream: An Australian Perspective on Urban Resilience
Authors: B. Gleeson
Publication Year: 2008
Journal: Urban Studies
Climate change and energy insecurity are grave threats to the stability and sustainability of human society. This paper considers the meaning of this globally manifest, yet regionally differentiated, ecological threat for Australia's urban system. It also considers the twin ecological peril of oil depletion, whose impacts may intensify to great effect the social stresses likely to emerge as climates warm. The paper intervenes in the debate that transfixes contemporary Australian urbanism: the sustainability of the suburban form in which most Australians live. A similar if not identical debate exists in North America and parts of western Europe. These discussions may be overemphasising the environmental significance of urban form and failing to apprehend the deeper socio-cultural forces that drive the (over)consumption of nature. Planning thought and practice need to loosen the grip of physical determinism on their environmental comprehension if they are to comprehend accurately the sources of, and solutions to, ecological threat. New urban scientific evidence suggests that planning's principal role in the fight against warming will be one of adaptation not mitigation. That is to say, there is no simple `spatial fix' for overconsumption.