Concrete and Clay
In this innovative account of the urbanization of nature in New York City, Matthew Gandy explores how the raw materials of nature have been reworked to produce a "metropolitan nature" distinct from the forms of nature experienced by early settlers. The book traces five broad developments: the expansion and redefinition of public space, the construction of landscaped highways, the creation of a modern water supply system, the radical environmental politics of the barrio in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the contemporary politics of the environmental justice movement. Drawing on political economy, environmental studies, social theory, cultural theory, and architecture, Gandy shows how New York's environmental history is bound up not only with the upstate landscapes that stretch beyond the city's political boundaries but also with more distant places that reflect the nation's colonial and imperial legacies. Using the shifting meaning of nature under urbanization as a framework, he looks at how modern nature has been produced through interrelated transformations ranging from new water technologies to changing fashions in landscape design. Throughout, he considers the economic and ideological forces that underlie phenomena as diverse as the location of parks and the social stigma of dirty neighborhoods.
About the Authors
Matthew Gandy is Professor of Geography at the University of Cambridge and was Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory from 2005 to 2011. He is the author of Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (MIT Press), recipient of the 2003 Spiro Kostof Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, and has published widely on urban, cultural, and environmental themes. He is also author of The Fabric of Space: Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination, recipient of the 2014 Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography, given by the American Association of Geographers.
Robert Gottlieb is Henry R. Luce Professor of Urban Environmental Studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He is the author of Environmentalism Unbound: Exploring New Pathways for Change (2001), and Reinventing Los Angeles: Nature and Community in the Global City (2007), both published by the MIT Press, and other books.
—Erik Swyngedouw, St. Peter's College and School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University
—Roger Keil, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
—Andrew Hurley, Department of History, University of Missouri, St. Louis
—Sharon Zukin, author of The Cultures of Cities
Co-winner of the 2003 Spiro Kostof Award presented by the Society of Architectural Historians