If twenty-first-century urbanization is understood as a problem, its regional epicenter is the cities in Asia. Facing unprecedented diversity in scale, scope, and environmental dynamics in the Asian urban experience, scholars will need an approach that can truly capture the significance of place and context. The challenge, as this volume illustrates, can be met by the analytic of ecologies of urbanism. Eschewing a rigid, single ecology, the contributors identify multiple forms of nature—in biophysical, cultural, and political terms—that have discernable impact on power relations and human social action. The case studies in this book—including leopards in Mumbai, a network of tubewells in northern India, an island that grows through reclamation in Hong Kong, and a railway continuum linking Khon Kaen and Bangkok—all attest to the versatility of ecologies of urbanism. Guided by urban processes rather than geopolitical boundaries, Places of Nature in Ecologies of Urbanism offers a picture of urban Asia that is composed of varied ecologies of urbanism.
Anne Rademacher is associate professor of environmental studies and anthropology at New York University.
K. Sivaramakrishnan is Dinakar Singh Professor of India and South Asian Studies, and professor of anthropology and forestry & environmental studies, at Yale University, where he is also the co-director of the Program in Agrarian Studies.