Urban habitats / nature
This article considers the discursive and material nature of cities, and nature in cities. Geographers, historians, and some ecologists have destabilized the myth that cities are inherently 'un-natural'. Cities are socionatural assemblages that provide diverse habitats for both human and nonhuman animals and plants alike. This article begins by briefly examining nature in the city. Next it considers the historical theorizing of urban nature-society relations, giving attention to various understandings of how socioeconomically constructed differences and constellations of power mediate the life chances of urban people, animals, and plants. Recent theoretical developments in environmental justice and political ecology are considered through a discussion of key concepts such as urban metabolism, sustainability, ecological cities, and the materiality of nature-society relations in the city. The article also touches on the new animal geography and how ideas about urban nature and animals have influenced geographers' understanding of the nature of urbanism and the patterns and processes of urbanization. The article highlights contemporary challenges of nature-society relations in the city, especially human-animal conflict and coexistence. It concludes by briefly considering new research directions.
International Encyclopedia of Human Geography
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Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)