Urban socio-ecological imaginaries: the discourses of urban natures

The discourses of urban natures, their practices and outcomes are crucial to understand urban environmental injustice and inequality:

There is a growing global awareness of the environmental crisis (global warming, new diseases, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, pollution…):



Click here to read a list of topics on which further research is needed.

Neo-liberalising urban environments

Across Europe, neo-liberalisation has affected both the state and enviromental management:

However, these changes have been ‘messy’, geographically diverse, unstable and gradual. Hence, they should be labelled as a ‘neo-liberalisation’ process and not ‘neo-liberalism’! (Brenner et al, 2005).

Health and urban forms and urban flows

(Lake and Townshend, 2006)

Click here to see a figure showing how environment and activity patterns relate to public health (Frank and Engelke, 2001:203).

Healey, 2002:


(See Philips, 2004; Gilroy, 2008)

Health and neighbourhoods



But… has the neighbourhood a role in health?

It is proven that… 

Lynch, 2000:

Environmental stress may be linked to mental health breakdown:


Click here if you want to read some examples of experiences proving the existence of this link.

Urban sustainability: the fantasy of socio-ecological urban cohesion

In the late 20th century:

Braun 2005 outlines the approaches to urban sustainability:

There are loads of literature on urban sustainability. Da Cunha et al. (2005) describes the vast majority of this literature in the following terms:

There are some problems with this approach (according to Keil, 2003; Keil, 2005; Swyngedouw, 2007a; Haughton 1999, p.233):

Antecedents to urban sustainability throughout the 20th century

Meanwhile, engineers and urban planners transformed the city:

In the late 1960s:

McHarg’s (1969). Design with Nature. First guidelines to ‘ecologise’ the city:

In the 1970s:

Late 19th Century antecedents to urban sustainability

In the late 19th century we find the first urban sociological perspectives, which link the discovery of bacteria to social exclusion and inequality.

These first urban sociological approaches introduce attemps to re-imagine cities.