SSC Newsletter 16: Border Troubles: Urban Nature and the Remaking of Public/Private Divides Remaking

Published on 6 October 2022 at 19:48

The latest article by our Research Director - Dr Andrea Armstrong - was published today in the academic journal Urban Geography. The title of the article is 'Border Troubles: Urban Nature and the Remaking of Private/Public Divides'. Read the abstract below and the article is open access (freely available) to download by following this link.


Traditional interventions to “bring nature into the city” were often motivated by a concern to create forms of public space which would provide a public good. Despite such well-intentioned motivations, these public forms of urban nature have always been to some extent bounded, serving some in favor of others, authorizing particular uses and forms of behavior as more or less legitimate, and policing the boundaries of who is/not included in such space. In this paper, we argue that new interventions seeking to bring nature-based solutions (NBS) into the city serve to further trouble these boundaries. NBS seek to use nature to address urban sustainability challenges and they navigate and serve to reconfigure what is (and is not) public in the city. We draw on research undertaken in three cities – Newcastle (United Kingdom), Cape Town (South Africa) and Athens (Greece) to explore the ways in which notions of the private and the public are being remade with and through nature, and its implications for how we might understand urban politics. Our conclusions point to the need for governance arrangements that can support the long-term stewardship of nature in the public interest and with due accountability and we suggest three arrangements.

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