The Urbanization of Nature: Great Promises, Impasse, and New Beginnings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Set within the nexus of a growing awareness of the complexity of urban environmentson the one hand, and a deterioration of urban socio-ecological conditions onthe other, the aim of this chapter is twofold. First, to contend that urban socioecologicalresearch, having made great strides in retheorizing the city as a contestedsocio-natural process, contributed to pushing the urban environmental agenda ontothe public stage. Second, to ask why, after a decade of intense scholarly and publicattention to urban environmental concerns, relatively little has been achieved withrespect to altering precarious socio-ecological conditions in both the cities of theglobal north and those of the global south.We shall focus on four key perspectives that galvanized urban socio-ecologicalresearch over the past decade: urban metabolisms; the neo-liberalization of urbanenvironments; urban socio-ecological movements; and urban environmental imaginariesand discursive formations. We shall examine how each one of these perspectiveshas revolutionized urban theory and practice, and also how each has contributedin part to the political-ecological deadlock we are currently in. In the conclusion,we shall chart some of the intellectual pathways that might help to deal with thisimpasse, and insist, with renewed conviction, that renaturing urban theory is vitalfor urban analysis and urban politics as well as urban activism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Blackwell Companion to the City
EditorsG. Bridge, S. Watson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISBN (Print)9781405189811
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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