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Nicholas R. Smith
Louise Guibrunet and Vanesa Castán Broto
Urbanization, a defining characteristic of our modern times, is a multidimensional process that involves both social and spatial transformations, within and beyond the boundaries of any given city. Urbanization today cannot be understood without examining the informal city. Informality refers to patterns of spatial organization, social relations, and economic exchanges which emerge in a variety of settings such as urban sprawl or the globalization of urban economic markets. Informality is crucial not just because it represents an important share of the existing and future urban fabric and economy of many world cities, but also because it relates to the myriad of ways in which everyday citizens go about their lives, thus shaping the city and its relation to the environment. Given the importance of informality in making the city, studies of urban metabolism (that is, flows of natural resources and materials through the urban system) may lose relevance if they are not able to engage with informality as a subject of study. In this chapter we advocate for an urban metabolism analysis that, while engaging with material flows and the political economy of the city, recognizes the dynamics of informal settlements and their importance in the making of the modern city. Urban metabolism is here a strategy to unravel the political ecology of the city, and in particular, how formal and informal relations shape material and political exchanges between cities and the environment.
Loretta Baldassar, Majella Kilkey, Laura Merla and Raelene Wilding
The notion of ‘transnational families’ emerged at the beginning of the twenty-first century to designate in particular ‘families that live some or most of the time separated from each other, yet hold together and create something that can be seen as a feeling of collective welfare and unity, namely “familyhood”, even across national borders’ (Bryceson and Vuorela, 2002: 18). Because of geographical distance, the maintenance of collective welfare and unity in transnational families largely relies on the ability of transnational family members to participate in the circulation of care across distance and national borders, an ability that represents a key feature of migrant wellbeing. The concept of care is indeed strongly related to issues surrounding welfare and wellbeing, both at an individual and collective level. As Daly (2011) points out, care relates not only to the servicing of the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves as well as those who are able-bodied, it also emphasises in a broader sense the relational foundations of all social life. In other words, ‘key elements of people's welfare inhere in their relations with others and the reciprocity around responses to need and the receipt of recognition and value for who people are’ (Daly, 2011: 47–48). In this chapter, we define the circulation of care in transnational families as a ‘capability’ (Sen, 1987), and discuss how the ability to participate in care exchanges impacts on the wellbeing of transnational family members – in terms of the provision of their care needs, of reciprocal care obligations and practices, and of identity recognition. This also leads us to examine the ways in which new communication technologies transform the ways in which caring relationships are experienced and practiced, and to highlight how policy mediates families’ capabilities to care across distance.
Nicholas R. Smith
Urbanization, particularly high-density urban development, increases non-porous surface area, which can increase flood risk. Climate change is also increasing flood risk in many parts of the world. The socio-spatial distribution of vulnerability and resilience to flooding and flood risk is highly differentiated. Urban flooding therefore not only raises important justice issues of acute policy relevance. This chapter develops a framework that uses concepts of justice to understand the justice consequences of different policies to alleviate flood risk and mitigate the impacts of flooding. Specifically, the chapter examines the distributional justice concepts of “need,” “desert,” “equality,” and “market values” and the procedural justice concepts of “knowledge,” “choice,” and “power.” These concepts are considered in relation to: (1) decision-making criteria in the provision of flood defences; (2) the changing availability of flood insurance; and (3) the operation of urban housing markets and systems. Empirical evidence is drawn from: (a) documentary sources; (b) qualitative interviews with public policy-makers, private insurers, and emergency service providers; and (c) focus groups with flood victims in contrasting urban settings in the United Kingdom.
John Rennie Short
In this chapter I will explore the historical connections between Nature and the City. The capitalizations represent the more general themes rather than the specific objects. I will consider four broad themes that correspond to a sweeping historical trajectory, with ruptures and continuities. In “Nature Incorporated” I will look at how the early cities incorporated Nature. From the frescoes of Çatalhöyük, when the division between Nature and the City was new and slight, to the urban gardens of today’s contemporary cities I will show how city residents incorporate Nature in different ways. In “Nature Planned” I will examine the rise of the more formal incorporation of Nature in city parks that arose as a Romantic response to rapid urbanization. I will look at the evolution of city parks, such as the Bois de Boulogne in Paris from royal preserve to bourgeois play space to its present role as a setting for the nighttime sexual economy. In “Nature Overcome” I will look at the rise of the modernist city and especially its premise of the mastery and defeat of Nature. Urban modernism for all intents and purposes involved the marginalization of Nature. In “Nature Recreated” I will look at the present day greening of cities from New York’s High Line to Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon and especially the resurrection and creative recreation of an urban Nature.