Contesting sustainability: Bikes, race, and politics in portlandia

Amy Lubitow, Thaddeus R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Despite decade old calls for a "just sustainability," urban sustainability policy and practice remains oriented toward environmental outcomes and eco-lifestyle projects. Notions of equity, justice, and inclusion continue to be marginalized in favor of technological solutions, such as green buildings, that are visible, easy to implement, and help to promote economic development. By examining a controversy over a bikeway development project in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Northeast Portland, Oregon, this article explores how despite apolitical appeals to broadly shared values or visions of what a sustainable city ought to look like, sustainability projects can be - and perhaps should be - hotly contested. This article illustrates how sustainable development projects become sites of political debate, and provide space for environmental and social justice concerns to enter into the broader discourse on sustainability. Following the work of environmental justice advocates and scholars critiquing urban sustainability, this article contributes to the analysis and practice of efforts to advance a more socially robust, equitable, and political notion of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Justice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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