By Peter Sigrist

The right to the city: the entitled and the excluded - The Urban Reinventors, Special issue, November 2009

Though not yet realized, Dongtan Eco-City has been lauded as a progressive model of urban sustainability with the potential for successful replication throughout the world. It has also been criticized as an expensive form of public relations, gentrification, and even totalitarianism. These competing perspectives raise questions about the meaning of urban sustainability and the degree to which Dongtan represents a viable model. In addressing these questions, I will begin with a brief overview of the project, the debate surrounding it, and its historical context. I will then explore Dongtan's sustainability from political, economic, social, and ecological points of view. I will end with a series of conclusions on Dongtan's potential as a model of urban sustainability [...]

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Peter Sigrist is a PhD student in city and regional planning at Cornell University. His research is focused on the interface between international development and urban environments. His interests include adaptive reuse, horticulture, art. He recently completed a study on redevelopment in Mumbai, titled 'Building on Common Ground: The Political Ecology of Architecture in Dharavi.' He is currently working on a historical study of public parks in Moscow. Peter Sigrist is also author of the blog Civic Nature at

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