UCL Urban Laboratory


Matthew Gandy on queer ecology

29 October 2012

Urban Lab Steering Committee member Matthew Gandy explores the interdisciplinary terrain of 'queer ecology' in Society and Space (Volume 30 Issue 4), using the example of an urban cemetery in North London as an empirical and conceptual starting point

Though the term 'queer ecology' has cropped up a few times it has yet to be addressed directly in order to consider how the seemingly disparate fields of queer theory and urban ecology might benefit from closer interaction. It will be suggested that the theoretical synthesis represented by queer ecology serves to expand the conceptual and material scope of both fields: queer theory is revealed to have only a partially developed engagement with urban nature whilst critical strands of urban ecology such as urban political ecology have yet to connect in a systematic way with queer theory, posthumanism, or new conceptions of complexity emerging from within the science of ecology itself. It is concluded that queer ecology may enrich our understanding of both urban materiality and the role of metaphors in urban theory. In particular, the idea of queer ecology illuminates the possibility for site-specific 'heterotopic alliances' in the contemporary city.