Transforming paradise : Neoliberal regeneration and more-than-human urbanism in Birmingham

Oliver, Catherine (2023) Transforming paradise : Neoliberal regeneration and more-than-human urbanism in Birmingham. Urban Studies, 60 (3). pp. 519-536. ISSN 0042-0980

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In Birmingham, a badger visits me each evening outside my front door. Five years later, a fox meets me on a city street at 5 am. Two years after that, walking along the city’s canals, my eyes lock with a heron’s. A year later, a eucalyptus tree becomes my shade and respite in a disturbed city. Months later, as I get ready to leave the city, I encounter a group of parakeets. In this paper, I ask how these seemingly disparate encounters and relationships are intimately connected as part of Birmingham’s urban ecologies and larger stories of urban regeneration – and its consequences for thriving and precarious life in the city. I argue that the tension between thriving and precarity in Birmingham (and cities like it) results from new exertions of control whilst urban dwellers establish new forms of more-than-human urban cohabitation. The stories in this paper, relating to different non-human lives caught up in Birmingham’s transformation into a neoliberal city, demonstrate that serious consideration of more-than-human theory and experience is essential to the future of urban studies scholarship.

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Journal Article
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Urban Studies
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03 Oct 2022 14:55
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15 Jul 2024 23:05