Urbanizing Nature: Actors and Agency (Dis)Connecting Cities and Nature Since 1500, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Urbanizing Nature

Actors and Agency (Dis)Connecting Cities and Nature Since 1500, 1st Edition

Edited by Tim Soens, Dieter Schott, Michael Toyka-Seid, Bert De Munck


342 pages | 34 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-01-21
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What do we mean when we say that cities have altered humanity’s interaction with nature? The more people are living in cities, the more nature is said to be "urbanizing": turned into a resource, mobilized over long distances, controlled, transformed and then striking back with a vengeance as "natural disaster". Confronting insights derived from Environmental History, Science and Technology Studies or Political Ecology, Urbanizing Nature aims to counter teleological perspectives on the birth of modern "urban nature" as a uniform and linear process, showing how new technological schemes, new actors and new definitions of nature emerged in cities from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction

Introduction: Did Cities Change Nature? A Long-Term Perspective

Tim Soens, Dieter Schott, Michael Toyka-Seid and Bert De Munck

Part II: Nature into Urban Hinterlands

1. Long-Term Transitions, Urban Imprint and the Construction of Hinterlands

Sabine Barles and Martin Knoll

2. Concepts of Urban Agency and the Transformation of Urban Hinterlands: The Case of Berlin, Eighteenth to Twentieth Centuries

Christoph Bernhardt

3. A Place in Its Own Right: The Rural-Urban Fringe of Helsinki from the Early Nineteenth Century to the Present

Marjaana Niemi

Part III: Nature as Urban Resource

4. Urbanizing Water: Looking Beyond the Transition to Water Modernity in the Cities of the Southern Low Countries, Thirteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

Ellen Janssens and Tim Soens

5. Cities Hiding the Forests: Wood Supply, Hinterlands and Urban Agency in the Southern Low Countries, Thirteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

Paulo Charruadas and Chloé Deligne

6. Energizing European Cities: From Wood Provision to Solar Panels – Providing Energy for Urban Demand, 1800-2000

Dieter Schott

7. Re-Use and Recycling in Western European Cities

Georg Stöger

Part IV: Nature as Urban Challenge

8. Hydraulic Experts and the Challenges of Water in Early Modern Times: European Colonial Cities Compared

Karel Davids

9. Stockholm’s Changing Waterscape: A Long-term Perspective on a City and Its Flowing Water

Eva Jakobsson

10. Air Pollution as Urban Problem in France, from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the 1970s

Stéphane Frioux

Part V: Visions of Urban Nature

11. Urban Fringes: Conquering Riversides and Lakeshores in the Nineteenth Century – Examples from Austrian and Swiss Medium-Sized Cities

Christian Rohr

12. Twentieth Century Wastescapes: Cities, Consumers, and Their Dumping Grounds

Heike Weber

13. The Roots of the Sustainable City: The Visible Waters of the City in Modern Mainz and Wiesbaden

Michael Toyka-Seid

Part VI: Concluding Essay

14. Beyond Cities, Beyond Nature: Building a European Urban Stratum

Chris Otter

About the Editors

Tim Soens is Professor of Medieval and Environmental History at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Dieter Schott is Professor for Modern History at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

Michael Toyka-Seid is research associate at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

Bert De Munck is professor at the History Department of the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Urban History

This series showcases original and exciting new work in urban history. It publishes books that challenge existing assumptions about the history of cities, apply new theoretical frames to the urban past and open up new avenues of historical enquiry. The scope of the series is global, and it covers all time periods from the ancient to the modern worlds.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Modern / General
HISTORY / Social History