Ecological Constellations in Urban Space
432 pp., 6 x 9 in, 33 b&w illus.
- Published: March 8, 2022
- Published: March 8, 2022
A study of urban nature that draws together different strands of urban ecology as well as insights derived from feminist, posthuman, and postcolonial thought.
Postindustrial transitions and changing cultures of nature have produced an unprecedented degree of fascination with urban biodiversity. The “other nature” that flourishes in marginal urban spaces, at one remove from the controlled contours of metropolitan nature, is not the poor relation of rural flora and fauna. Indeed, these islands of biodiversity underline the porosity of the distinction between urban and rural. In Natura Urbana, Matthew Gandy explores urban nature as a multilayered material and symbolic entity, through the lens of urban ecology and the parallel study of diverse cultures of nature at a global scale.
Gandy examines the articulation of alternative, and in some cases counterhegemonic, sources of knowledge about urban nature produced by artists, writers, scientists, as well as curious citizens, including voices seldom heard in environmental discourse. The book is driven by Gandy's fascination with spontaneous forms of urban nature ranging from postindustrial wastelands brimming with life to the return of such predators as wolves and leopards on the urban fringe. Gandy develops a critical synthesis between different strands of urban ecology and considers whether "urban political ecology," broadly defined, might be imaginatively extended to take fuller account of both the historiography of the ecological sciences, and recent insights derived from feminist, posthuman, and postcolonial thought.
“Gandy's majestic exploration of the posthuman, postcolonial 'ecological pluriverse' of cultural, material, and biophysical traces from across the globe opens a treasure trove of new ways to understand the fluidity of urban ecologies and natures.”
Julian Agyeman, Tufts University
“Gandy's erudite book offers a compelling engagement with the diversity of human and nonhuman agents in the shaping of the urban environment and its many facets and meanings.”
Sonja Dümpelmann, University of Pennsylvania
“Gandy's Natura Urbana is stunning scholarship. Never before has urban nature been subject to such a creative, lively, and original analysis.”
Jennifer Wolch, University of California, Berkeley
"Natura Urbana is a tour de force. It eschews the typical characteristics of academic monographs in a refreshing, dialectical, and original manner."
Brian F. O'Neill
New Global Studies
"Gandy assembles a rich ecosystem of examples and theoretical material, troubling the history of intellectual and policy engagement with city natures while pointing toward pluralist urban ecological futures."
AAG Review of Books
“Drawing on decades of work and observation, especially in Berlin and London, and on a vast, almost spiralling, and beautifully connected theoretical framework assembled from a thought landscape that includes neo-Marxism, feminism, posthumanism and postcolonialism, Gandy seeks a 'critical synthesis between different strands of urban ecology and a variety of other postpositivist theoretical developments.'”
Journal of Urban Design