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Greenwashing and Capitalist Production of Urban Space: A case study in Iskandar Malaysia

Tateishi, Eigo LU (2015) HEKM50 20151
Human Ecology
Abstract
Production of urban space is an indispensable component of capitalism. Without production of urban space, capitalism cannot sustain capital accumulation and cope with over-accumulation crises. However, as environmental consciousness grows, urban development projects are increasingly exposed to green pressures and demands because of their associated eco-climatic impacts. One possible way for capitalists to reconcile such pressures and demands with capital accumulation is to develop sustainable ‘capitalist’ cities that rely heavily on techno-fixes. However, to make such ‘techno-fixed’ capitalist cities really sustainable from the ‘true’ sustainability perspective is a tall task. Thus, a more feasible and pragmatic strategy for capitalists is... (More)
Production of urban space is an indispensable component of capitalism. Without production of urban space, capitalism cannot sustain capital accumulation and cope with over-accumulation crises. However, as environmental consciousness grows, urban development projects are increasingly exposed to green pressures and demands because of their associated eco-climatic impacts. One possible way for capitalists to reconcile such pressures and demands with capital accumulation is to develop sustainable ‘capitalist’ cities that rely heavily on techno-fixes. However, to make such ‘techno-fixed’ capitalist cities really sustainable from the ‘true’ sustainability perspective is a tall task. Thus, a more feasible and pragmatic strategy for capitalists is to greenwash their urban development projects.

By greenwashing, a capitalist urban project can not only seemingly adapt to green pressures, but also increase its exchange values by satisfying the lucrative green demands of environmentally conscious rich consumers. Thus, urban greenwashing can be theorized to have two functions: (1) obscuring environmental damages associated with a project, while, (2) increasing the exchange value of the project. These two functions can be empirically confirmed by analyzing the relation between (i) the degree of environmental destruction associated with the project and (ii) the degree of ‘promised (or advertised)’ greenness of the project; and the relation between (ii) and (iii) the price level of the project.

If we can observe a positive relation between (i) a level of environmental destruction and (ii) a promised greenness, we can conclude that the promised greenness of the project is used, as a greenwashing function (1), for obscuring its environmental damage (and this means, by definition, the project is greenwashed). Similarly, if we can observe a positive relation between (ii) the promised greenness and (iii) a price level, we can conclude that the promised greenness of the project is used, as a greenwashing function (2), for enhancing market competitiveness, and thus the exchange value, of the project. Based on an urban greenwashing framework developed in this thesis and using Iskandar Malaysia project as a case study, this thesis operationalizes and quantifies (i) the environmental destruction; (ii) the promised greenness; and (iii) the price level of 38 target residential projects within the Iskandar region, and empirically confirmed positive relations between (i)-(ii) and (ii)-(iii). (Less)
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author
Tateishi, Eigo LU
supervisor
organization
course
HEKM50 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Iskandar Malaysia, greenwashing, urbanization, production of urban space, urban development, Harvey, Lefebvre, capitalism
language
English
id
5403348
date added to LUP
2015-06-25 15:10:33
date last changed
2015-06-25 15:10:33
@misc{5403348,
  abstract     = {Production of urban space is an indispensable component of capitalism. Without production of urban space, capitalism cannot sustain capital accumulation and cope with over-accumulation crises. However, as environmental consciousness grows, urban development projects are increasingly exposed to green pressures and demands because of their associated eco-climatic impacts. One possible way for capitalists to reconcile such pressures and demands with capital accumulation is to develop sustainable ‘capitalist’ cities that rely heavily on techno-fixes. However, to make such ‘techno-fixed’ capitalist cities really sustainable from the ‘true’ sustainability perspective is a tall task. Thus, a more feasible and pragmatic strategy for capitalists is to greenwash their urban development projects.

By greenwashing, a capitalist urban project can not only seemingly adapt to green pressures, but also increase its exchange values by satisfying the lucrative green demands of environmentally conscious rich consumers. Thus, urban greenwashing can be theorized to have two functions: (1) obscuring environmental damages associated with a project, while, (2) increasing the exchange value of the project. These two functions can be empirically confirmed by analyzing the relation between (i) the degree of environmental destruction associated with the project and (ii) the degree of ‘promised (or advertised)’ greenness of the project; and the relation between (ii) and (iii) the price level of the project.

If we can observe a positive relation between (i) a level of environmental destruction and (ii) a promised greenness, we can conclude that the promised greenness of the project is used, as a greenwashing function (1), for obscuring its environmental damage (and this means, by definition, the project is greenwashed). Similarly, if we can observe a positive relation between (ii) the promised greenness and (iii) a price level, we can conclude that the promised greenness of the project is used, as a greenwashing function (2), for enhancing market competitiveness, and thus the exchange value, of the project. Based on an urban greenwashing framework developed in this thesis and using Iskandar Malaysia project as a case study, this thesis operationalizes and quantifies (i) the environmental destruction; (ii) the promised greenness; and (iii) the price level of 38 target residential projects within the Iskandar region, and empirically confirmed positive relations between (i)-(ii) and (ii)-(iii).},
  author       = {Tateishi, Eigo},
  keyword      = {Iskandar Malaysia,greenwashing,urbanization,production of urban space,urban development,Harvey,Lefebvre,capitalism},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Greenwashing and Capitalist Production of Urban Space: A case study in Iskandar Malaysia},
  year         = {2015},
}