Category Archives: Commentary

Tying a New Rope to an Old One: Developing an Environmental Education Curriculum in Benin
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Tying a New Rope to an Old One: Developing an Environmental Education Curriculum in Benin

Emmanuel Awohouedji, a Benin environmentalist and educator, shares his experience of building and teaching a curriculum focusing on environmental problems and issues for middle and high schools in the Republic of Benin. This type of teaching is missing in Benin and requires overcoming administrative, structural and material hurdles—but also provides rich experiences for others to […]

Repairing, Repurposing, Retreating: The Materialities of Climate Response
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Repairing, Repurposing, Retreating: The Materialities of Climate Response

How do we face the challenge of existing, obdurate built environments and infrastructures (and imaginaries and imperatives built upon and around them) in responding to the threat/s of climate change? Are such materialities as obdurate as is often imagined, and if so, to what degree? With what stakes, and with and for whom, do we engage this obduracy?

The tensions of spatial justice in the progressive realisation of housing rights in South Africa.
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The tensions of spatial justice in the progressive realisation of housing rights in South Africa.

A recent Tweet [1] about the injustice of the rental housing stock in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, had me revisit my understanding of South Africa’s housing conundrum. My early career passion on urban slums and city spatial planning threw me into the abyss of just how difficult it is to provide dignified housing for all. Without […]

Exploring infrastructures of (water) storage in Accra
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Exploring infrastructures of (water) storage in Accra

Accra is a city of storage. While walking across its busy roads, one can spot a myriad of objects used to transport, store and sell water: Water is sold at the traffic light in tiny plastic ‘sachet’ bags, plastic or metal containers mounted on trucks are used to transport and sell bulk water, and residents […]

Teaching a Situated Environment and Society Class
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Teaching a Situated Environment and Society Class

What does it mean to teach a situated class? The easiest answer to this is to include ‘local’ examples. But for me, being deeply situated in my teaching has also meant starting from and responding to what the students know and helping them make sense of their own world. (In contrast to the typical academic […]

Building discussion around infrastructural labour and livelihoods
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Building discussion around infrastructural labour and livelihoods

Building discussion around infrastructural labour and livelihoods By: Alejandro De Coss and Kathleen Stokes ** Many thanks to participants in our session. While we have endeavoured to capture key points, we also appreciate this summary should not be taken to not reflect everyone’s views. ** On April 18th, 2018, scholars from around the UK met […]

Temporalities of Crisis: On Cape Town’s Day Zero
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Temporalities of Crisis: On Cape Town’s Day Zero

Temporalities of Crisis: On Cape Town’s Day Zero By: Nate Millington and Suraya Scheba Cape Town is currently facing a water crisis. While Day Zero, the day when the city’s water would have been cut off, is apparently no longer a possibility in 2018, scarcity remains a concern. Arguing that water will only get scarcer […]

Maintaining the Mexico City water system
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Maintaining the Mexico City water system

The history of Mexico City can be told through the ways in which water flows both into and away from it. 500 years ago, the then capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain was a city undergoing an unparalleled transformation. The conquest of the indigenous lands was set to change not only the politics, […]

Reflections on Situating Urban Political Ecology at the African Centre for Cities’s International Urban Conference
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Reflections on Situating Urban Political Ecology at the African Centre for Cities’s International Urban Conference

As part of the African Centre for Cities‘ International Urban Conference, Kathleen Stokes and Nate Millington organized a series of sessions dedicated to thinking about the relationships between labor, infrastructure, and politics in cities of the global south. We received numerous papers from scholars working in cities all over the world, from Accra to Delhi. […]