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Emergency Urbanism in the Anthroprocene: Eco-emergency, Resource Securitisation and Premium Ecological Enclaves

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen Graham, Professor Simon Marvin


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Earth scientists now argue that the current geological era should be re-named the anthropocene to better reflect the impact of humans in reshaping planetary ecology. Global urbanism encompasses the social, economic and political processes most closely linked to the rapid transformation of habitats, destruction of ecologies, over use of materials and resources, and the production of pollutants and carbon emissions that threaten planetary terracide. Consequently, the key concern for 21st century global urbanism is to critically understand the wider societal and material implications of strategic responses to the pressures of climate change, resource constraint and their interrelationships with the global economic crisis. The aim of this short chapter is to explore this question drawing upon our mutual interests in security, ecology and the politics of contemporary urbanism (Graham 2010, Hodson and Marvin 2010). Consequently we discuss the following three themes. Firstly, conceptualising and placing “eco-emergency” by exploring what gets privileged as a result of eco-emergency and how is this shaping strategies for 21st century urbanism. Secondly, reviewing the extension of the role of markets in the provision of networked ecologies, the emergence of resource “grabs”, and the extension of the national state into the political and military security of ecological resources. Thirdly, looking at the emergence of ecological enclaves and neo-liberal utopias and the way in which eco-cities, eco-towns, eco city-states, floating cities and the like represent ecologically secure premium enclaves that by-pass existing infrastructure and build internalised ecological resource flows that attempt to guarantee strategic protection and further economic reproduction. Finally we speculate on the potential challenges and alternatives to this new style of emergency urbanism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graham S, Marvin S

Editor(s): Hass, T;

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Sustainable Urbanism and Beyond: Rethinking Cities for the Future

Year: 2012

Print publication date: 03/04/2012

Publisher: Rizzoli


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780847838363