Isabelle Anguelovski is a social scientist trained in urban and environmental planning (PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011), non-profit management (Harvard University, 2004), and international development (Université de Paris I-Sorbonne, 2001), whose research is situated at the intersection of urban planning and policy, social inequality, and development studies. Her projects examine the extent to which urban plans and policy decisions contribute to more just, resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities, and how community groups in distressed neighborhoods contest the existence, creation, or exacerbation of environmental inequities as a result of urban (re)development processes and policies.
For her recent book (Neighborhood as Refuge: Community Reconstruction, Place-(re)making, and Environmental Justice in the City, MIT Press 2014), she researched how community activists in three historically marginalized neighborhoods – Dudley (Boston), Cayo Hueso (Havana), and Casc Antic (Barcelona) – organized to improve the local environmental quality and address residents’ environmental trauma, fear of erasure, and loss. The book argues that projects such as community-based urban farms, green streets, parks, playgrounds, or green housing serve as tools to help create safe havens, foster a renewed sense of place for residents, positively affect their individual and collective identity, and contribute to long-term engagement in community revitalization and political activism. This research is situated in the urban political economy of dumping, degradation, investment, and unequal urban development.
Her current research in divided in three projects. First, she examines processes of environmental gentrification in formerly depressed neighborhoods and the ways in which such processes pose new challenges for community residents and environmental justice activists. This work is emplaced in municipal sustainability plans and private investment decisions to “green” urban neighborhoods. Through case studies in Boston, New York, Rio, and Medellin, she exposes how green amenities, for which marginalized residents often fought for, are paradoxically now increasingly seen as Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs), and how local activism is forced to evolve towards issues of affordable housing policies and locally-owned businesses. Among others, she examines food gentrification conflicts in communities of color. This research is supported by the work of several graduate students at the UAB-ICTA and the ESARQ School of Architecture at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya.
Second, in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT and graduate students at the UAB-ICTA, Isabelle explores the variety of approaches that cities engaged in adaptation planning take to protect the lives, housing, and livelihoods of historically marginalized groups exposed to climate risks and impacts. This research specifically looks at how municipalities approach issues of socio-spatial vulnerability, adaptive capacity, inclusion, equity, and resilience. We ask how municipalities engage civil society actors in urban adaptation planning and implementation and how different approaches contribute to more equitable, just, and inclusive outcomes. Additionally, the project examines how local communities, NGOs, and their networks contribute to climate adaptation planning and resilience to climate risks and impacts and how they either challenge or complement municipal adaptation work. Case studies include the cities of Quito, Surat, Durban, New York, and Sydney.
Last, Isabelle is engaged in a collaborative European project (EC FP7 TESS) which studies the emergence, scaling-up, and diffusion of community initiatives that can lead to a transition towards a low-carbon economy within European urban regions. She is the PI of this project for the UAB partner. Among various objectives, research partners from six European countries examine the extent to which community-based transition initiatives in the domains of food, energy, transportation, and waste entail social innovations that address issues of equity and access. The project also studies the obstacles that prevent many existing transition projects to be more socially and racially inclusive. Case studies include urban regions in Spain, Germany, Scotland, Finland, Rumania, and Italy.
Isabelle’s former research studied the strategies and tactics developed by indigenous communities in the Andes and Amazon to address environmental contamination and land grabbing by oil and mining companies. These studies emerged from previous work with international NGOs, including Oxfam America in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
Recent publications include:
• Anguelovski, I. 2014. Neighborhood as refuge: Community Reconstruction, Place-Remaking, and Environmental Justice in the city. Cambridge: MIT Press.
• Anguelovski, I. Accepted for publication. Alternative food provision conflicts in cities: Contesting food privilege, food injustice, and colorblindness in Jamaica Plain, Boston.” Geoforum.
• Anguelovski, I. Forthcoming. “Tactical developments for achieving just and sustainable neighborhoods: The role of community-based coalitions and bottom-to-bottom networks in street, technical, and funder activism.” Environment and Planning C.
• Anguelovski, I., Chu, E., and Carmin J. 2014. “Variations in Approaches to Urban Climate Adaptation: Experiences and Experimentation from the Global South.” Global Environmental Change. Vol. 27. 156-167.
• Anguelovski, I. and Martínez-Alier J. 2014. “The ‘Environmentalism of the Poor’ revisited: Territory and place in disconnected glocal struggles.” Ecological Economics. 102: 167-176.
• Martinez-Alier, J., Anguelovski, I., Bond, P., Del Bene, D., Demaria, F., Gerber, J.F., Greyl, L., Haas, W., Healy, H., Marín-Burgos, V., Ojo, G., Porto, M.F., Rijnhout, J., Rodríguez-Labajos, B., Spangenberg, J., Temper, L., Warlenius, R., Yánez, I. 2014. “Between activism and science: grassroots concepts for sustainability coined by EJOs,” Journal of Political Ecology, 21:19-60
• Anguelovski, I. 2013. “From Environmental trauma to safe haven: Place attachment and place remaking in three marginalized neighborhoods of Barcelona, Boston, and Havana.” City and Community. 12: 3, 211-237.
• Anguelovski, I. 2013. “New directions in urban environmental justice: Rebuilding community, addressing trauma, and remaking place”. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 33: 2, 160-175.
• Anguelovski, I. 2013. “Beyond a livable and green neighborhood: Asserting control, sovereignty, and transgression in the Casc Antic of Barcelona.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 37:2, 1012-1034.
• Carmin, J., Anguelovski, I., and Roberts, D. 2012. “Urban climate adaptation in the global South: Planning in an emerging policy domain.” Journal of Planning Education and Research. 38: 1, 12-32.
• Carmin, J. Roberts, D. and Anguelovski, I. 2012. “Preparing cities for climate change: Early lessons from early adaptors.” Cities and Climate Change: Responding to an Urgent Agenda, Volume 2. Washington, DC: World Bank. 470-501.
• Anguelovski, I. and Carmin, J. 2011. Something borrowed, everything new: Innovation and institutionalization in urban climate governance.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 3: 169-175.
• Anguelovski, I. 2010. “Understanding the dynamics of community engagement of corporations in communities: The iterative relationship between dialogue processes and local protest at the Tintaya Mine in Peru.” Society and Natural Resources. (23) 4. 384-399.