University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Aesthetic Democracy: Negotiating Visual Norms for Wind Energy Development

Roopali Phadke, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Policy & Politics, Macalester College

Monday, February 12, 2007, 4:00 p.m., 1110 Joan and Sanford Weill Hall

Presented by the Gerald R. Ford School's
Science, Technology and Public Policy Program
and the
Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy

Abstract: New investments in "green" power are essential for mitigating the impacts of global climate change. While wind power is now considered both technologically mature and economically feasible, it faces bitter opposition from local communities on the grounds that wind turbines amount to visual pollution. This presentation will examine the role that visual imagery is playing in policy debates about the siting of new wind farms. Drawing examples from several contested projects in the United States, the presentation will describe conventional and alternative approaches for calculating "viewsheds" in the process of environmental impact assessment.

Roopali Phadke is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Policy & Politics at Macalester College. Her research and teaching lies at the intersection of environmental studies, international development and science and technology studies. She is especially interested in the democratization of science and technology decision-making and the hybridization of technical expertise and local knowledge.

With commentary by Beth Diamond, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, School of Natural Resources and Environment.

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