Matthew Gandy

Matthew Gandy is Professor of Geography at the University of Cambridge and the author of Concrete and Clay and The Fabric of Space, both published by the MIT Press.

  • Natura Urbana

    Ecological Constellations in Urban Space

    Matthew Gandy

    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.

    • Hardcover $30.00
  • The Fabric of Space

    The Fabric of Space

    Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination

    Matthew Gandy

    A study of water at the intersection of landscape and infrastructure in Paris, Berlin, Lagos, Mumbai, Los Angeles, and London.

    Water lies at the intersection of landscape and infrastructure, crossing between visible and invisible domains of urban space, in the tanks and buckets of the global South and the vast subterranean technological networks of the global North. In this book, Matthew Gandy considers the cultural and material significance of water through the experiences of six cities: Paris, Berlin, Lagos, Mumbai, Los Angeles, and London. Tracing the evolving relationships among modernity, nature, and the urban imagination, from different vantage points and through different periods, Gandy uses water as a lens through which to observe both the ambiguities and the limits of nature as conventionally understood.

    Gandy begins with the Parisian sewers of the nineteenth century, captured in the photographs of Nadar, and the reconstruction of subterranean Paris. He moves on to Weimar-era Berlin and its protection of public access to lakes for swimming, the culmination of efforts to reconnect the city with nature. He considers the threat of malaria in Lagos, where changing geopolitical circumstances led to large-scale swamp drainage in the 1940s. He shows how the dysfunctional water infrastructure of Mumbai offers a vivid expression of persistent social inequality in a postcolonial city. He explores the incongruous concrete landscapes of the Los Angeles River. Finally, Gandy uses the fictional scenario of a partially submerged London as the starting point for an investigation of the actual hydrological threats facing that city.

    • Hardcover $35.00
    • Paperback $25.00
  • Concrete and Clay

    Concrete and Clay

    Reworking Nature in New York City

    Matthew Gandy

    An interdisciplinary account of the environmental history and changing landscape of New York City.

    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.

    • Hardcover $55.00
    • Paperback $35.95