Conceptualizing Urban Political Ecology in and through Asian Urbanisms

Authors: Creighton Connolly*, National University of Singapore
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology, Asia
Keywords: urban periphery, urban political ecology, Asian urbanism, post-colonial urbanism, everyday practice, comparative urban theory, cityness
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This article examines the institutional frameworks within which urban political ecology (UPE) has evolved over time and how the literature has responded to challenges identified by new rounds of comparative, non-western, and post-colonial urban (and regional) theorizing. The urban periphery is a useful heuristic device for this task, given its emergence in writing on cities of the global south, and its use in unsettling the hegemonic center of urban theory production. One response of UPE to the challenges of ‘southern theory’ has been the strand of ‘situated UPE’, which is attentive to everyday urbanisms and the various practices that make up contemporary cities. This term is useful for its ability to conceptualise the city as made up of diverse processes, actions and metabolisms that may not otherwise be readily considered urban. In such a way, writing situated urban political ecologies which are attentive to practice can bring our attention to the urban fringe, and to consider the interplay of the ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ practices constitutive of the urban experience. However, much of this work to date has been conducted through the lens of African urbanism. While writing on Asian cities has made strong contributions to the project of de-centering urban theory, this has not been done in relation to the urban political ecology (except emerging work on South Asia). Yet, experiences of Asian urbanisms, particularly on the urban periphery, can be useful for continuing the task of developing a more theoretically heterogeneous and situated UPE.

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