Handbook of Cities and the Environment
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Handbook of Cities and the Environment

Edited by Kevin Archer and Kris Bezdecny

With an ever-growing majority of the world's human population living in city spaces, the relationship between cities and nature will be one of the key environmental issues of the 21st Century. This book brings together a diverse set of authors to explore the various aspects of this relationship both theoretically and empirically. Rather than considering cities as wholly separate from nature, a running theme throughout the book is that cities, and city dwellers, should be characterized as intrinsic in the creation of specifically urban-generated ‘socio-natures’.
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Chapter 16: Making Moorhen

Ryan Jones


In recent decades, individuals and organizations with an interest in arboriculture have adopted the “urban forest” as a holistic way of conceptualizing and managing the city’s woody vegetation. With increasing prevalence, individual trees are becoming parts of an urban forest whole providing measurable services and benefits authorities can use to make cities more liveable, sustainable, and globally competitive places. Liveability and sustainability are highly desirable goals, but the qualities urban forestry lends to the city’s trees and wooded areas can seem a world away from their ordinary rhythms and cultural lifeworlds. Developing a response to this dissonance, I will use this chapter to shine some light on the quotidian complexity of making and living with one reafforested space in the city of Brisbane, Australia. To do so, I use Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of assemblage to pry open the urban forest and grapple with the multiple ways of arranging and territorializing a place called Moorhen Flats Reserve. What emerges is a sense of the more-than-human actors, practices, and events involved in making Moorhen according to different political problems, issues and desires. Noting actual and potential points of disharmony emerging from the multiplicity of urban forest spaces, I suggest researchers could pay more attention to the lines of conflict and tension cutting across different regimes of making and living with the city’s trees.

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