Although nature conservation has traditionally focused on the countryside, issues of biodiversity protection also appear on the political agendas of many cities. One of the emblematic examples of this now worldwide trend has been the German city of Berlin, where, since the 1970s, urban planning has been complemented by a systematic policy of “biotope protection”—at first only in the walled city island of West Berlin, but subsequently across the whole of the reunified capital. In Greening Berlin, Jens Lachmund uses the example of Berlin to examine the scientific and political dynamics that produced this change.
After describing a tradition of urban greening in Berlin that began in the late nineteenth century, Lachmund details the practices of urban ecology and nature preservation that emerged in West Berlin after World War II and have continued in post-unification Berlin. He tells how ecologists and naturalists created an ecological understanding of urban space on which later nature-conservation policy was based. Lachmund argues that scientific change in ecology and the new politics of nature mutually shaped or “co-produced” each other under locally specific conditions in Berlin. He shows how the practices of ecologists coalesced with administrative practices to form an institutionally embedded and politically consequential “nature regime.”
Lachmund’s study sheds light not only on the changing place of nature in the modern city but also on the political use of science in environmental conflicts, showing the mutual formation of science, politics, and nature in an urban context.
About the Author
Jens Lachmund is Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
“Greening Berlin will make a major contribution to STS, not only because it expands the horizon of this discipline by focusing on urban ecology, but also by offering methodological gains through engaging with environmental history. The case study—urban ecology in Cold War West Berlin—is aptly chosen, and the research is impressive.”
—Thomas Zeller, Associate Professor, History Department, University of Maryland, College Park
“Greening Berlin is interesting, informative, well-structured, thoroughly researched. I was simply fascinated to see how Jens Lachmund assembled myriad (and often minute) details into a compelling story. This is a solid piece of scholarship and one most worthy of serious attention.”
—Thomas F. Gieryn, Rudy Professor of Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington
“In Greening Berlin, Jens Lachmund masterfully interweaves urban history, constructionist analysis, and social studies of science to produce a fascinating and insightful case study of a unique ‘biotope-protection regime.’ This book will undoubtedly help clear the theoretical gridlock over the ‘nature-society divide’ that has plagued environmental scholarship for far too long.”
—John Hannigan, University of Toronto