By Andrew Ross
Phoenix, Arizona is considered one of America's quickest transforming into metropolitan areas. it's also its least sustainable one, sprawling over one thousand sq. miles, with a inhabitants of 4 and a part million, minimum rainfall, sizzling warmth, and an insatiable urge for food for unrestrained development and unrestricted estate rights.
In Bird on Fire, eminent social and cultural analyst Andrew Ross specializes in the clients for sustainability in Phoenix--a urban within the bull's eye of worldwide warming--and additionally the stumbling blocks that stand within the manner. so much authors writing on sustainable towns examine locations like Portland, Seattle, and manhattan that experience very good public transit structures and comparatively excessive density. yet Ross contends that if we can't swap the sport in fast-growing, low-density towns like Phoenix, the complete move has a huge challenge. Drawing on interviews with two hundred influential residents--from nation legislators, city planners, builders, and eco-friendly enterprise advocates to civil rights champions, power lobbyists, sun marketers, and group activists--Ross argues that if Phoenix is ever to develop into sustainable, it is going to happen extra via political and social switch than via technological fixes. Ross explains how Arizona's more and more xenophobic immigration legislation, science-denying legislature, and growth-at-all-costs enterprise ethic have perpetuated social injustice and environmental degradation. yet he additionally highlights the confident adjustments occurring in Phoenix, particularly the Gila River Indian Community's profitable fight to win again its water rights, probably transferring assets clear of new housing advancements to generating fit neighborhood nutrition for the folks of the Phoenix Basin. Ross argues that this victory may possibly function a brand new version for the way eco-friendly democracy can paintings, redressing the claims of these who've been aggrieved in a fashion that creates long term merits for all.
Bird on Fire deals a compelling tackle one of many urgent problems with our time--finding pathways to sustainability at a time whilst governments are dismally failing their accountability to deal with weather swap.
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Extra info for Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City
G A M B L I N G A T T H E WA T E R T A B L E [ 25 ] The fourteenth-century ﬂoods were a great trauma, but it appears that the Hohokam had being going downhill since at least the time of the great drought, 250 years earlier. In the early 1990s, in preparation for the realignment of Phoenix’s new Hohokam Expressway, the Department of Transportation commissioned digs in and around Pueblo Grande, the headgate village site adjacent to the expanding Sky Harbor Airport. From the evidence they uncovered, the archaeological team built up a picture of a society in a state of precipitous decline during what scholars had called its Classic Period (1150–1350).
700), platform mounds (from the 1030s), and great houses (like Casa Grande, the ﬁrst federally preserved archaeological site in the United States), marked them oﬀ from the Ancestral Pueblo peoples of the Southwest and distinguished their settlement as a northern pocket of the Mesoamerican cultures of the Toltecs, Aztecs, and Mayans. Over time, the Hohokam developed a fairly advanced state-level society, with various levels of authority reaching down from the command centers at the all-important headgates of the canal system.
It is no coincidence that the environmental slogan “Think Global, Act Local” was ﬁrst employed by Patrick Geddes, the Scottish urbanist who pioneered the idea of regional planning. It was with this positive parochialism in mind that I opted to take the social and political temperature of Metro Phoenix by interviewing 200 of its more thoughtful, inﬂuential, and active citizens (some of them were interviewed several times) about the region’s prospects for becoming sustainable. They were chosen primarily on the recommendation of prior interviewees, though many showed up on my own ﬁeld radar, and a few through fortuitous encounters at meetings or events.