In the Nature of Cities
Urban Political Ecology and the Politics of Urban Metabolism
Edited by Nik Heynen, Maria Kaika, Erik Swyngedouw
Routledge – 2004 – 272 pages
Series: Questioning Cities
The social and material production of urban nature has recently emerged as an important area in urban studies, human/environmental interactions and social studies. This has been prompted by the recognition that the material conditions that comprise urban environments are not independent from social, political, and economic processes, or from the cultural construction of what constitutes the ‘urban’ or the ‘natural’. Through both theoretical and empirical analysis, this groundbreaking collection offers an integrated and relational approach to untangling the interconnected processes involved in forming urban landscapes.
The essays in this book attest that the re-entry of the ecological agenda into urban theory is vital both in terms of understanding contemporary urbanization processes, and of engaging in a meaningful environmental politics. They debate the central themes of whose nature is, or becomes, urbanized, and the uneven power relations through which this socio-metabolic transformation takes place.
Including urban case studies, international research and contributions from prominent urban scholars, this volume will enable students, scholars and researchers of geographical, environmental and urban studies to better understand how interrelated, everyday economic, political and cultural processes form and transform urban environments.
Forward David Harvey Part 1 The Production of Urban Natures and Urban Political Ecology 1. Introduction Erik Swyngedouw, Nik Heynen and Maria Kaika 2. Sylvan City: The social production of urban nature Eliza Darling and Neil Smith 3. Urbanizing Political Ecology: A perspective from Toronto Roger Keil and Julie-Anne Bourdreau Part 2: Urban Metabolisms 4. Circulations and Metabolism: Hybrid natures and cyborg cities Erik Swyngedouw 5. The Desire to Metabolize Nature Stuart Oliver 6. Cyborg Urbanization: Water, urban infrastructure and the modern city Matthew Gandy 7. Monuments, Medians and Metabolims: Contradictions inherent to the appropriation of Avenida De La Reforma's built environment for consumption Nik Heynen 8 Clogging up the City: The metabolism of fat in bodies, sewers and cities Simon Marvin and Will Medd 9. Urban Metabolism as Target: Contemporary war as forced demodernisation Stephen Graham Part 3: The Ecology of Urban Politics 10. Transnational Alliances and Global Politics: New geographies of urban environmental justice struggles David N Pellow 11. Constructing Scarcity and Sensationalising Water Politics: 170 days that shook Athens Maria Kaika 12. Dead Spaces in the City of Extremes: Observations from the great Chicago heat wave Eric Klinenberg 13. Reconnecting with the Means of Existence in Durban Alex Loftus 14. Looking at the Public/Private Water Debate in South Africa Through the Prism of an Urban Political Ecology Framework Laila Smith 15. Turfgrass Subjects: The political economy of suburban lawn monoculture Paul Robbins 16. At the Edge: Fragmented ecologies in Philadelphia Alec Brownlow Conclusions and the Way Forward Erik Swyngedouw, Nik Heynen and Maria Kaika
Nik Heynen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Maria Kaika is Lecturer in Urban Geography, at the University of Oxford and Erik Swyngedouw is a Professor in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford.