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Found in translation: Discourse, imaginaries and the production of meaning in planning urban sustainability

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Sustainability is a keyword in contemporary discourses on environment and society, operating as both a long-term vision of the future and as a basis for policy and decisionmaking in a range of governance settings. Cities in particular have enthusiastically adopted sustainability discourses, as exemplified by the City of Surrey’s development, beginning in 2007, of a municipal “Sustainability Charter”. This research seeks to understand how sustainability discourse operates generally, proposing valuable insights can be gained by analyzing sustainability from a Laclauian discourse theoretical perspective. This research also investigates why and how the City of Surrey came to institutionalize sustainability as a policy objective. Participant interviews and analysis of policy discourse reveals important intersections between the City’s sustainability discourse and neoliberal entrepreneurial city dynamics. The discourse is found to act as a basis for place promotion, as well as an accounting mechanism for managing interests and complexities.
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The author granted permission for the file to be printed, but not for the text to be copied and pasted.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Mann, Geoff
Thesis advisor: Holden, Meg
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etd6044_EKennedy.pdf 4.77 MB

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