Towards multispecies urbanism and planning?

Social and ecological crises related to the Covid-19 pandemic and a changing climate have heightened the awareness of the entangled fates of humans and non-humans, from the individual body to the planetary scale. This awareness demands that we examine and question how humans coexist not only with nature but also with other species.

Image may contain: Water, Bird, Sky, Cloud, Beak.
Photo: Morten Munch Olsen

About the lecture

“The urban” present a particularly interesting area of investigation in regards to multispecies interaction, since the City historically by and large has been imagined and conceptualized as the exclusively human domain par excellence. Is it time to question whether it is really reasonable to sustain the misapprehension that urban development is an activity which only affects humans, and that humans should be the sole beneficiaries (and victims) that deserve consideration in the development of urban settlements?

In this Cities & Society seminar Jonathan Metzger and Cecilie Sachs Olsen will discuss how the entangled fates of humans and non-humans might speak in challenging ways to wider concerns about planning, researching, understanding and struggling for better cities. The discussion centre-stages the need to find ways to responsibly confront all the difficult questions concerning how, in a world marked by profound relational complexity, urban practices that aim to enable the flourishing of some entities and futures inevitably demand the neglect, othering or active eradication of other beings, things and/or potential developments.

To tackle these questions, do we demand an abandonment of the traditional idea that urban planning and participation are only concerned with the well-being of humans? And if so, what are the practical implications for urban planning and development? What new trajectories for urban planning and urbanism might these questions open up?

About the speakers

Cecilie Sachs Olsen is a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Urban and Regional Research at Oslo Metropolitan University. Her work revolves around developing creative methods for urban research and exploring how artistic practice can be used as a framework to analyse and re-imagine urban planning, space and politics. She recently published the book Socially Engaged Art and the Neoliberal City (Routledge, 2019).

Jonathan Metzger is Professor of Urban and Regional Studies at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of his research deals with decision making concerning complex environmental issues – generally with a focus on urban and regional policy and politics. In his work he in various ways brings together planning studies, human geography, science and technology studies, and organization studies.​ His two most recent books are Dilemmas of Sustainable Urban Development: A view from Practice (Routledge, 2021, w/ Jenny Lindblad, eds.) and Deleuze and the City (Univ. of Edinburgh Press, w/ Hélène Frichot & Catharina Gabrielsson, eds.)

Tags: Multispecies, Coexistence, Urban Planning
Published Sep. 7, 2022 9:36 AM - Last modified Sep. 7, 2022 9:54 AM