Kian Goh
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In formation
Urban political ecology for a world of flows
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As climate change threats to urban centres become more alarming, cities are proposing ambitious plans to adapt to climate impacts. These plans are increasingly subsumed within urban development projects, and embedded in global flows of capital and networks of environmental governance and planning. And yet, scholarship on urban adaptation has tended to approach the city as an analytically bounded territory, neglecting interconnections across space and processes of globalisation, urbanisation, and geopolitics. This chapter extends theories of relational geographies to explore how emerging conditions of urban adaptation to climate change and globalised urban development inform and revise our understanding of urban socioecological change. Focusing on the global links of Dutch water expertise, and tracing relationships within and between Rotterdam, New York, and Jakarta, it illustrates the formation of global-urban networks – the multiscalar, multilevel connections through which capital, knowledge, and influence flow. It probes the ways in which these networks emerge to mobilise ideas and influence across geographical scales and political boundaries, driven and defined by interrelated factors including economic relationships, historically defined situational relationships, and interface conditions including narratives of culture and environmental urgency. The findings explain how processes of urban socioecological change are mediated through global-urban formations that are transhistorical and relational; how situated and positional struggles are part of generalised political economic and environmental processes; and how biophysical, ecological limits are invoked and wielded as part of contested urban struggles.

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Turning up the heat

Urban political ecology for a climate emergency


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