Temporalities of urban natures

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conference

Description

The search for viable avenues for multispecies coexistence is becoming a defining feature in the era of the Anthropocene. Only in the past year, the concurrent emergencies of climate change and SARSCov2 have thrown into light the intimate relations between human-shaped environments and the disastrous deterioration of formerly thriving ecosystems. In cities, where artificial landscapes and lively ecologies meet, the question of more-than-human cohabitation comes to a head. Today, there is growing recognition among both researchers and urban professionals that cities form important sites of refuge for threatened species and fragile biodiversities (Schilthuizen 2019), which are themselves being increasingly incorporated into sustainable urban planning projects (Hauck & Weisser 2015). Yet, as critics point out, such “greening” practices can lead to the displacement, rather than safeguarding, of vulnerable human and non-human urban dwellers (Patrick 2014). Consequently, more-than-human appropriations of urban space illuminate complex challenges, but also potential solutions, to a sustainable co-existing in the Anthropocene city.

Urban nature scholarship, with its tendency to emphasise spatial tensions and entanglements, nevertheless risks omitting an integral part of more-than-human urban life and successful cohabitations: that of time and diverging temporalities. Recent theoretical efforts to ascribe agency to non-human beings in socio-ecological presents (Bennett 2009; Barad 2011) as well as nearby Anthropocenic futures (Haraway 2016; Tsing et al. 2017), have highlighted the importance of accounting for both temporal and spatial dimensions beyond a shared, linear time-space (Rose & Wylie 2006). With this predominantly narrow focus on temporal taxonomies, either drawn from ecological systems research or from social constructivist notions of time (Adam 1998), a more diverse understanding of the temporalities of urban natures is currently lacking.

Drawing inspiration from urban ecology (Kowarik & Körner 2005); social scientific critiques of (urban) nature conservation (Igoe 2017; Lorimer 2015); eco-materialist theories of climate change and non-human temporalities (Rossini et al. 2017; Neimanis & Walker 2014); the interlinkages of cities with deep time (Gandy 2018); “Anthropocene urbanism” (Derickson 2018); and notions of time as a modality of power (Sharma 2014), this seminar series seeks to explore how different temporal entanglements structure, affect and co-produce urban landscapes, and by extension the Anthropocene city. We do so by framing our series around three overlapping thematic interrogations: narratives, imaginaries, and practices.
Period23 Sep 202124 Sep 2021
Event typeWorkshop
Conference number1
LocationVenice, Italy
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Keywords

  • Urban space
  • Temporality
  • environmental humanities
  • visual methods
  • Arts-based research
  • urban ecology
  • political ecology
  • new materialisms
  • Climate Change