New book about battles waged over Oak Ridges Moraine launches

The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles Book CoverAfter more than a decade of research, reflection and writing, Professors L. Anders Sandberg, Gerda R. Wekerle and Liette Gilbert of the Faculty of Environmental Studies have produced the book The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles: Development, Sprawl, and Nature Conservation in the Toronto Region, published by the University of Toronto Press.

The Oak Ridges Moraine is a unique landform that generated heated battles over the future of nature conservation, sprawl and development at the turn of the 21st century. The book provides a careful, multifaceted history and policy analysis of planning issues and citizen activism on the Anders SandbergMoraine’s future in the face of rapid urban expansion.

L. Anders Sandberg

The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles captures the hidden aspects of a story that received a great deal of attention in the local and national news, and that ultimately led to provincial legislation aimed at protecting the Moraine and Ontario’s Greenbelt.

Liette GilbertLiette Gilbert

By giving voice to a range of residents, activists, civil servants, scientists, developers and aggregate and other resource users, the book demonstrates how space on the urban periphery was reshaped in the Toronto region. The authors ask hard questions about who is included and excluded when the preservation of nature challenges the relentless process of urbanization.

The book will be celebrated and launched Monday, Dec. 2, from 6 to 8pm, at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St. (walking distance from the Osgoode and Queen Gerda R. Wekerlesubway stations). Everyone is welcome to attend. RSVP by Nov. 25 at fes.yorku.ca\book-launch

Gerda R. Wekerle, photo by John Vainstein

The following are some assessments of the book:

The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles is the definitive book on this important chapter in Ontario environmental politics. The authors provide a wealth of detail and analysis of an interesting story that is significant not only locally and regionally, but also nationally, and to a certain extent, internationally. As an examination of the politics of suburban and exurban development in the Greater Toronto Region, this book is unlikely to be surpassed for some time.”
André Sorensen, chair, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto, Scarborough

The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles is a rare and superb model of the application of a critical political ecology approach to the analysis of land use conflict – work of such depth and temporal breadth is unusual, particularly in Canadian environmental studies. The authors do a wonderful job of mining the riches of this case study and grounding it in solid empirical research.”
Laurie E. Adkin, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta

“The book is a rigorously detailed and conceptually nimble work that asks challenging questions about how to think about nature in order to defend it.”
Nate Prier, Alternatives Journal, vol 39, 5 (2013), 58

“Forget everything you thought you knew about the Oak Ridges Moraine. [The authors] deconstruct the Oak Ridges Moraine, questioning not only its coherence as a landscape, but critically examining the very legislation and planning processes that shape its use today. . . . This is a book not just for those who are interested in environmental conservation and geology, but for planners, policy makers, politicians and residents who are hoping to gain a deeper understanding of how concepts shift, evolve and even work against each other over time.”
Jake Tobin Garrett, Novae Res Urbis, vol 16, 25 (June 2013), 2, 5

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