Conclusions

"Metabolism" and "circulation" permit excavating the socio-environmental basis of the city's existence and its change over time. The socio-naturally "networked" city can be understood as a giant socio-environmental process, perpetually transforming the socio-physical metabolism of nature. Nature and society are in this way combined to form an urban political ecology, a hybrid, an urban cyborg that combines the powers of nature with those of class, gender, and ethnic relations. In the process, a socio-spatial fabric is produced that privileges some and excludes many, that produces significant socio-environmental injustices. Nature, therefore, is an integral element of the political ecology of the city and needs to be addressed in those terms. Urbanizing nature, though generally portrayed as a technological-engineering problem is, in fact, as much part of the politics of life as any other social process. The recognition of this political meaning of nature is essential if sustainability is to be combined with a just and empowering urban development; an urban development that returns the city and the city's environment to its citizens. Being modern, as the poet Arthur Rimbaud (1873) captured it in the nineteenth century, is exactly about the active creation of situations and events, and participating in the production of our natures in so doing. Urban modernity as a particular set of processes of socio-metabolic transformations promises exactly the possibility of the active, democratic, and empowering creation of those socio-physical environments we wish to inhabit. In this sense, modernity is not over; it has not yet begun.

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