1st Edition

Healthy Urban Environments More-than-Human Theories

By Cecily Maller Copyright 2018
    178 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Set in the ‘human–environment’ interaction space, this book applies new theoretical and practical insights to understanding what makes healthy urban environments. It stems from recognition that the world is rapidly urbanising and the international concern with how to create healthy settings and liveable cities in the context of a rapidly changing planet. A key argument is that usual attempts to make healthy cities are limited by human-centrism and bifurcated, western thinking about cities, health and nature. Drawing on the innovative ‘more-than-human’ scholarship from a range of disciplines, it presents a synthesis of the main contributions, and how they can be used to rethink what healthy urban environments are, and who they are for. In particular, the book turns its attention to urban biodiversity and the many non-human species that live in, make and share cities with humans.

    The book will be of interest to scholars and students in human geography, health sociology, environmental humanities, public health, health promotion, planning and urban design, as well as policymakers and professionals working in these fields.


    Chapter 1 Redefining healthy urban environments

    Part I: Understanding more-than-human theories

    Chapter 2 The Affective Turn: non-representational theories, affect and emotions

    Chapter 3 The New Materialisms Turn: materiality, vital materialism and assemblages

    Chapter 4 The Practice Turn: social practices, performance and routine

    Part II: Making more-than-human healthy urban environments

    Chapter 5 Understanding health as more-than-human

    Chapter 6 Cities as more-than-human habitat

    Chapter 7 Changing practices for understanding and making healthy urban environments

    Chapter 8 More-than-human healthy futures


    Cecily Maller is a Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow and Co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Program – Centre for Urban Research, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Australia.

    "In this fascinating and eminently readable book, Maller provocatively asks who the city is for, extending her answer to the array of more-than-humans that always inhabit urban environments. Its originality in expertly distilling the contribution of theory and practical action to the making of healthy cities, in ways that extend beyond ‘only-the-human’, makes this a strikingly innovative contribution to urban, health and environmental scholarship." Professor Gordon Walker, Lancaster University, UK

    "Cities are conventionally understood as archetypal human and cultural places. It is still radical to consider them also as places where many other forms of life can and must flourish. In this timely book, Cecily Maller brings more-than-human perspectives into conversation with debates around the healthy city. Maller charts this pathway using her expertise in social practice to consider questions of complexity and change. She encourages scholars to intervene for the better, in the attempt to rethink and remake healthy urban environments." Professor Lesley Head, The University of Melbourne, Australia

    "This timely and innovative book pushes more-than-human thinking in new and exciting directions - including the thorny issue of what these ideas might mean for policy and practice. This is essential reading for students and scholars across the humanities and social sciences, as well as for anybody who is interested in how humans might live better with the rest of nature." Professor David Evans, University of Sheffield, UK

    "Inventive and intellectually rigorous, Healthy Urban Environments provides an ambitious new road map for exploring the relationship between health and the urban environment. Those interested in how recent theoretical innovations in environmental studies, urban studies and cultural geography are transforming how social scientists look at the relationship between cities and health need look no further than this wonderful book." Dr Alan Latham, University College London, UK

    "Health Urban Environments challenges our comfortable familiarity with the city of cables and concrete through recognising the more-than-human urban. Offering a theoretically rigorous and original perspective this book enables us not only to think differently about our approach to the city, but to engage with the forms of habitat and inhabitation that can lead to healthier urban lives." Professor Harriet Bulkeley, Durham University, UK