Wangui Kimari
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Nairobi’s bad natures
in Turning up the heat
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In this chapter, I document how the ‘bad natures’ of Mathare, a poor urban settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, are constructed, as well as their imperial genealogies. Here, bad natures references both the polluted environment as well as the internal landscapes considered immanent to residents of this ‘slum’ and that are said to make them ungovernable, allowing that this space and its subjects represent the city’s biophysical and socio-political profanities. I argue that these bad natures, in both senses, stem from and are reproduced by ongoing colonial metabolic processes that territorialise in the discursive and material practices of Nairobi’s urban spatial management. The imposed coalescence of subjects and their space leads to sinister ecological events that can range from flooding to extrajudicial killings. The call here, thus, is that we view how questions of urban nature are connected to subjectivity, and implicated in a multitude of urban violences, however disparate these may appear.

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Turning up the heat

Urban political ecology for a climate emergency


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