Habitable Air

Intersections of Urban Inequality, Political Division, and Pollution in the “Habitable Air” Project

As global temperatures continue to rise and the dual impact of pollution and climate change increasingly disrupts everyday life, it is more important than ever to examine how these issues interact with social inequality. The “Habitable Air” project is a groundbreaking initiative that seeks to do just that, by exploring the relationship between contemporary urban inequality, political division, and environmental insecurity.

At the heart of the project is a focus on urban poor communities, who often bear the brunt of negative health and other effects, such as displacement, from industrial toxicity, as well as from climate disaster. By studying these dynamics on the ground with communities in South Africa, Germany, and the United States, the project aims to shed light on the complex ways that industrial toxicity intersects with global warming in the lives of ordinary citizens.

One of the key objectives of the “Habitable Air” project is to examine the ways that communities living on the margins of interconnected energy hubs in these three countries manage the cultural and corporeal effects of chemical air pollution. By shifting the focus to the everyday practices and interactions of these residents, the project seeks to provide a more nuanced understanding of the impact of pollution and global warming on urban life and politics.

In addition to its primary objective, the “Habitable Air” project has a secondary objective: to analyze how long-standing struggles over industrial toxicity are being shaped by the increasing integration of climate science into contemporary governance. By studying the networked citizen practices and interactions that drive the reordering of urban life and politics, the project aims to identify both the successes and the failures of these efforts to create more equitable and sustainable cities.

Overall, the “Habitable Air” project seeks to make a significant contribution to our understanding of how threats of industrial toxicity and global warming are intertwined in communities struggling to secure natural and built environments. By focusing on the practices and interactions of ordinary citizens, the project offers a fresh perspective on the challenges and opportunities of addressing these pressing issues in a rapidly changing world.