Dr. Trina Hamilton

Trina Hamilton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). Her research focuses on global governance and sustainability issues. Specifically, she looks at new forms of politics (including the overlapping of marketplace and traditional political spheres), and their implications for environmental justice and economic development.


Ethical market access and exclusions: Who benefits from ethical markets? Are ethical products really the win-win for consumers and marginalized producers that they are regularly touted to be? One of the purported opportunities offered by ethical markets is the potential for marginalized countries and communities to benefit from increased market access to the developed world and the ethical premiums associated with products with enhanced social and environmental credentials, thereby providing an alternative to “race to the bottom”-style development. Yet, the reality is that the geographic preferences exhibited by so-called ethical markets may, in fact, reinforce global inequalities rather than providing a new economic development opportunity for the disenfranchised.

My current study of the ethical diamond market explores the development and contestation of “ethical havens” – production spaces favored for their ethical credentials in end markets, to the relative exclusion of other production sites.

Related publications:

Hamilton, T. 2013. Beyond market signals: Negotiating marketplace politics and corporate responsibilities. Economic Geography 89: 285-307.

Hamilton, T. 2011. Putting corporate responsibility in its place. Geography Compass 5: 710-722.

Hamilton, T. 2009. Power in numbers: a call for analytical generosity toward new political strategies. Environment and Planning A 41: 284-301.

Angel, D., T. Hamilton, and M. Huber. 2007.  Global environmental standards for industry. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 32: 295-316.

Green urbanism and gentrification: While global urban development increasingly takes on the mantle of sustainability and "green urbanism,” the threat of environmental gentrification is now at the forefront of debates about how to accomplish environmental improvements without massive displacement. In this context, I have been working with a colleague at DePaul University on a long-term project in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, that looks at how environmental activists and industrial retention advocates have been fighting to uncouple environmental cleanup from high-end residential and commercial development with alternative, sometimes surprising, forms of greening such as the creation of green spaces and ecological regeneration within protected industrial zones.

The desire to reorient green urbanism away from an ammenity-driven investment regime and toward more “just sustainabilities” is making its way into policy debates and activism around the world. Our forthcoming book, Just Green Enough: Urban Development and Enviromental Gentrification, explores the complexities of environmental progress in an era of gentrification as global urban policy, and includes case studies from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

Related publications:

Curran, W. and Hamilton, T. 2012. Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Local Environment 17(9): 1027-1042.

Hamilton, T. and W. Curran. 2013. From “Five Angry Women” to “Kick Ass Community”: Gentrification and Environmental Activism in Brooklyn and Beyond. Urban Studies 50: 1557-1574.