The entrepreneurial Sunshine State: Neoliberalism, growth management and environmental conservation in Florida

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Abstract

The severity of anthropogenic environmental change demands swift and effective conservation action in order to maintain the Earth’s essential life support systems. In particular, long-standing best practice in conservation sciences suggests that integrated action both within and between levels of social organization is necessary to ensure coordinated efforts capable of dealing with the cross-boundary nature of environmental challenges. The increasingly hegemonic influence of neoliberal policy reform, broadly aimed at promoting competition and individual autonomy in governance arrangements, however, has been cast by environmental and social critics as running counter to those efforts aimed at conserving the collective environment for the public good. Focusing on the case of multistage restructuring of Florida’s famed Growth Management Act (GMA), I articulate how the compounding effects of neoliberalization reform efforts have led to the complete transformation of the GMA’s potential to facilitate adequate large-scale environmental management, precluding the possibility of achieving needed conservation results. From this, I conclude with reflections on the major challenges facing advocates of conservation in the coming decades, in particular the need to resist the dismantling of existing and promote the establishment of new mechanisms capable of facilitating coordinated and collaborative conservation in line with scientific best practice.

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  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-862
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Volume40
Issue number6
Early online date2018 Jan 11
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 18
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes