Having done a deep dive on scholarly books about ecology, I was intrigued by Ashley Dawson’s argument in Extreme Cities: cities are a major epicenter of ecological and natural disasters. I had not thought about cityscapes as being susceptible to natural disaster, but Dawes unpacks several interesting instances of disaster to show how cities highlight deep stratifications in our society.
Dawes defines extreme cities as those that reveal the greatest disparity in economics and stability, and act as a site of ecological and economic disaster. Further, his research analyzes several geographic locations vulnerable to climate change and infrastructural collapse as a consequence of disaster. Miami, for example, is a house of cards waiting to collapse (and in many ways has already done so), particularly for the poor individuals forced to live in poorly developed swampy areas that have not been properly coded or verified as safe locations for those individuals living there. New York City after Hurricane Sandy also proved another location where disaster revealed stark contrasts between the wealthy and the poor and enforced ghettoization demonstrated the way race is affected by these disasters, as well.
This was a dense but interesting analysis of cities in my research. I will say that Dawson makes a couple of criticisms of the Obama administration and Clinton campaign that imply a “both sides were equally bad” argument I saw from the Sanders/Stein/socialist camps, which is a trap that Left academics fall into with a surprising speed and deftness. Seriously? Hillary Clinton was not going to undo Obama-era environmental regulations that are swiftly being undone by this corrupt and incompetent administration. Let us not forget, however much of a capitalist neoliberal witch she was (sarcasm), Hillary Clinton believed in climate change, and we elected a climate change denier to hold the highest office in the land.
Cross-posted to my blog.