Life After Dark : Multispecies Encounters in the Nocturnal City

Dunn, Nick (2023) Life After Dark : Multispecies Encounters in the Nocturnal City. In: Urban Natures : Living the More-than-Human City. Berghahn Books, London, pp. 33-46. ISBN 9781805390824

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The manifold diverse natures that occur through and with the city are often barely detectable, either through their adaptation to human-centred places or the management and control of habitats. The plethora of new agendas promoting health and wellbeing in cities meanwhile are accompanied by visions of clean, green and daylit urban environments. If we follow Braun’s (2005) assertion that urbanisation is a spatialisation of nature then what is made visible through these representations is a highly sanitised version of urban nature. Of specific interest here is the invisibility of urban natures at night. More-than-human places may be legible in the daytime city but are far less so after dark. Where darkness is evident in visions for urban futures it is typically symbolic of the dystopic, dirty, and dangerous. Within such images urban nature is implied as foreboding – the more-than-human is unknown and uncanny – hence the deployment of excessive artificial illumination to offer reassurance they are under control and safe. This chapter, therefore, examines how multispecies life is encountered in the nocturnal city and the multisensory experiences that are produced when visual perception is less reliable or dominant in interpreting the nature of such places. Drawing on a series of nightwalks across the city of Manchester, UK, to illustrate the entanglements between human and more-than-human, bodies and landscape, and place and time, this work considers how we might evolve a ‘making-with’ (Haraway 2016) approach for the design of the multispecies nocturnal city. Adopting an ecology-centred rather than human-centred perspective for the way urban futures are conceived, it seeks to challenge the prevailing trends of urban nature as subservient to human needs and desires in order to reimagine how a more-than-human nocturnal urbanism can enable greater visibility of such coexistences.

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?? urban naturemultispeciesdarknessnightmore-than-humanmultisensoryurban designyes - externally funded ??
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15 Sep 2023 13:00
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:02