- Liberal Arts, College of
- Geography & Urban Studies
Inquiries into the emotional realm of campus sustainability work are brought together through a case study of a youth-led organization, the Philadelphia Urban Creators (PUC), which operates in the Temple University-North Philadelphia urban spatial context. Located at the interface of Temple and North Philly (one block from Temple’s football complex and three blocks from the main campus), PUC describes their sustainability work as a “process of restoring broken relationships” (personal interview). In the analysis that follows, I explore the specific ways in which PUC’s sustainability work plays out in their particular socio-spatial context and find that approaching sustainability through the lens of relationship restoration allows them to engage meaningfully with their spatial context to foster emotional connections between participants and their urban ecological environments. From this analysis and the findings that it produces, I ultimately argue that that grassroots organizations like PUC hold some of the keys to understanding how sustainability can be a tool for restoring “emotional affinity” with the environment as well as for enacting transformative social and ecological change in the university context and beyond.