SITUATED ECOLOGIES is a platform for research projects and activities that relate to situated and contested ecologies, in particular when viewed through the processes of urbanisation.

Reading list

Reading list banner

Please feel free to email Mary with suggestions of readings to add!

Very useful free reader: Critical Geographies: A Collection of Readings

African Urbanism


  • Mabogunje, A. L. (1990). Urban planning and the post-colonial state in Africa: a research overview. African Studies Review33(02), 121-203.
  • Myers G (2011) African Cities: Alternative Visions of Urban Theory and Practice. London and New York: Zed Books
  • Parnell, S., & Pieterse, E. A. (2014). Africa’s urban revolution. Zed Books.


Seminal texts:

  • Simon, D. (1992). Cities, capital and development: African cities in the world economy. * Belhaven Press.
  • Rakodi, C. (1997). The urban challenge in Africa: Growth and management of its large cities. United Nations Univ.
  • Davidson, B. (1959). The lost cities of Africa. J. Currey.
  • The works of Akin Mabogunje; for an overview, see here

Other texts we found particularly useful:

See more here on the African Centre for Cities website


Political Ecology

A good overview:

Seminal texts:

Urban Political Ecology


  • Heynen, N. (2013). Urban political ecology I: The urban century. Progress in Human Geography, 0309132513500443.
  • Keil R (2003) Urban political ecology: A progress report.Urban Geography 24:723–738
  • Keil R (2005) Progress report: Urban political ecology.Urban Geography 26:640–651
  • Zimmer A (2010) Urban political ecology: theoretical concepts, challenges, and suggested future directions. Erkunde4:343–35

Seminal texts:

  • Heynen, N, Kaika, M and Swyngedouw, E (2006)In the Nature of Cities. London: Routledge
  • Swyngedouw E (2004) Social Power and the Urbanisation of Water. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Myers, G. A. (1999). Political ecology and urbanisation: Zanzibar’s construction materials industry. The Journal of modern African studies37(01), 83-108.

Other works we found particularly useful:

Conceptual arguments

  • Lawhon, Mary, Ernstson, Henrik and Jonathan Silver. (2014). Provincialising urban political ecology: towards a situated UPE through African urbanism. Antipode. 46(2): 497-516
  • Loftus A (2012) Everyday Environmentalism: Creating an Urban Political Ecology Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
  • Myers G (2008) Sustainable development and environmental justice in African cities.Geography Compass 2(3):695–708
  • Gabriel N (2014) Urban Political Ecology: Environmental Imaginary, Governance, and the Non-HumanGeography Compass 8(1):38-48
  • Monstadt J (2009) Conceptualizing the political ecology of urban infrastructures: Insights from technology and urban studies. Environment and Planning A41(8): 1924-1942
  • Swyngedouw E (1996) The city as a hybrid: On nature, society and cyborg urbanization.Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 7(2): 65–80
  • Swyngedouw E (2006) Circulations and Metabolisms: (Hybrid) Natures and (Cyborg) Cities.Science and Culture15:105–121 
  • Myers, G. (2016). Urban environments in Africa: A critical analysis of environmental politics. Bristol: Policy Press. (out soon!)

Empirical cases (African)

  • Gandy M (2006) Planning, anti-planning and the infrastructure crisis facing metropolitan Lagos.Urban Studies 43(2):371–396
  • Lawhon M (2013) Flows, friction and the sociomaterial metabolization of alcohol.Antipode 45(3): 681-701
  • Myers G (2005) Disposable Cities: Garbage, Governance And Sustainable Development in Urban Africa. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing
  • Njeru J (2006). The urban political ecology of plastic bag waste problem in Nairobi, Kenya.Geoforum, 37(6): 1046-58.
  • Njeru, J. (2013). “Donor-driven” neoliberal reform processes and urban environmental change in Kenya: The case of Karura Forest in Nairobi.Progress in Development Studies 13(1): 63–78
  • Silver, J. (2014). Incremental infrastructures: material improvisation and social collaboration across post-colonial Accra. Urban Geography35(6), 788-804.

Empirical cases (non-African)

  • Kaika M (2005) City of Flows: Modernity, Nature and the City.London and New York: Routledge
  • Ranganathan M (In press) Paying for Pipes, Claiming Citizenship: Political Agency and Water Reforms at the Urban PeripheryInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research
  • Rademacher, A,. and Sivaramakrishnan, K. (eds) (2013)Ecologies of Urbanism in India:Metropolitan Civility and Sustainability. New York: Columbia University Press
  • Truelove Y (2011) (Re-)Conceptualizing water inequality in Delhi, India through a feminist political ecology framework. Geoforum42(2):143–152
  • Gandy M (2004) Rethinking urban metabolism: water, space and the modern city.City 8(3):363–379.
  • Gandy M (2005) Cyborg urbanization: complexity and monstrosity in the contemporary city.International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29(1):26–49
  • Heynen N (2003) The scalar production of injustice within the urban forest.Antipode 35(5):980–998 Swyngedouw E and Heynen N (eds) (2003) Urban political ecology in advanced capitalist countries. Antipode35(5)
  • Swyngedouw E (1997) Power, nature, and the city. The conquest of water and the political ecology of urbanization in Guayaquil, Ecuador: 1880-1990.Environment and Planning A 29(2):311–332


Southern Theory

Overviews/seminal works:

Other works we found particularly useful:

  • Ernstson, H., Lawhon, M., & Duminy, J. (2014). Conceptual vectors of African urbanism:‘engaged theory-making’and ‘platforms of engagement’. Regional Studies48(9), 1563-1577.
  • Robinson J (2006) Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development. Routledge, London
  • Bayat A (2000) From ‘Dangerous Classes’ to ‘Quiet Rebels’:  politics of the urban subaltern in the Global South.  International Sociology15:533-557
  • Lawhon M (2013) Situated, networked environmentalisms: a case for environmental theory from the South.Geography Compass 7(2): 128–138
  • Parnell, S., & Oldfield, S. (2014). The Routledge handbook on cities of the global south. Routledge.
  • Simone A (2004) People as infrastructure: Intersecting fragments in Johannesburg.Public Culture 16(3): 407-429