Natura Urbana. Ecological Constellations in Urban Space
Book Presentation with author Matthew Gandy (University of Cambridge) in conversation with Uli Beisel (FU Berlin), Sandra Calkins (FU Berlin) and Susanne Hauser (UdK, Berlin)
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.