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Lecture to examine sustainability in metro Phoenix

Andrew Ross
October 06, 2011

“Urban Sustainability in the Age of Climate Justice: Lessons from Metro Phoenix” will be the topic of an Oct. 25 lecture at Arizona State University’s West campus. The presenter is Andrew Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University and the author of the new book “Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City” (Oxford University Press).

Ross’ presentation is scheduled for 4:00-5:30 p.m., Oct. 25 in the Kiva Lecture Hall, in the Sands Classroom Building at the West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. The event is free and open to the public; visitor parking costs $2 per hour. A reception with Ross will follow his lecture.

“The theme of Dr. Ross’ presentation is very lively and also controversial,” said Kristin Koptiuch, a faculty member in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, which is hosting Ross’ visit as part of its ThinK (Tuesdays in Kiva) series. “Our goal is to encourage thoughtful discussion among people who care about the future of metropolitan Phoenix. But you can be sure this won’t be your typical ‘booster’ talk.”

In his lecture, drawn on his own research in the Phoenix area, Ross will argue that the key solutions to creating sustainable cities are more social than technical in nature. He believes that marketing a “green” lifestyle to affluent residents will create showplace sustainable enclaves, but will not alter the patterns of “eco-apartheid” that afflict most large U.S. cities.

Ross’ new book “Bird on Fire” is based on extensive interviews he conducted in metropolitan Phoenix and examines some of the region’s biggest challenges, including water management, urban growth, immigration policy, pollution, energy supply, and downtown revitalization, within the context of his arguments for policies that promote environmental justice.

Ross has authored numerous other books, including “Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times,” “Fast Boat to China: Corporate Flight and the Consequences of Free Trade; Lessons from Shanghai,” and “The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney’s New Town.”

Several ASU departments collaborated with New College to cosponsor Ross’ appearance. They include Barrett, The Honors College; the Center for Critical Inquiry and Cultural Studies; the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies; the Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences; the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and the Social Justice and Human Rights program.

For additional information about this and other ThinK events at the West campus, call (602) 543-4521. You can also visit the Facebook page for the event at