Expanding and Decentering Urban Climate Finance

This session aims to advance and analytically expand an emerging research agenda on the urban dimensions of ‘climate finance’, broadly defined (Bridge et al. 2020). Recent scholarship has explored how financial actors are turning urban climate challenges into new sites of accumulation and speculation, proliferating climate-attuned financial markets, innovations, and expertise claims. Scholars question how such processes (re-)shape inter- and intra-urban accumulation dynamics, power relations and inequalities (e.g. Bigger and Webber 2020, Bigger and Millington 2020, Taylor 2020). Other recent interventions (e.g. Robin 2021) call for decentering this inquiry. They ask scholars to think beyond cities in which consolidated financial markets are already the norm, and more expansively define ’climate finance’ to consider ‘ordinary’ provisioning practices and legacy financial relations/inequalities that shape urban climate futures—self-consciously climate-oriented or otherwise.

The session invites conceptual and empirical submissions that advance this multifaceted agenda. Exemplary work will explore financial/provisioning practices and techniques relevant to urban climate challenges, their socio-ecological implications or accumulation dynamics. We particularly welcome contributions that attend to provocations on decentering, in expanding the theoretical, empirical and political horizons of scholarship on urban climate finance. Conceptually, interventions might articulate debates on urban climate finance with other evolving conversations on global, urban and uneven harms linked to climate change; the multiple forms of finance that shape urban environments; and diverse possibilities for emancipatory financial relations. We also strongly encourage submissions that engage calls for environmental, economic and racial justice in climate response (Pulido 2016, Jacobs 2019).

Climate-financial topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the role/significance of: