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Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (Urban and Industrial Environments)

Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (Urban and Industrial Environments)

Current price: $35.95
Publication Date: August 29th, 2003
The MIT Press
Special Order - Subject to Availability


An interdisciplinary account of the environmental history and changing landscape of New York City.

In this innovative account of the urbanization of nature in New York City, Matthew Gandy explores how the raw materials of nature have been reworked to produce a "metropolitan nature" distinct from the forms of nature experienced by early settlers. The book traces five broad developments: the expansion and redefinition of public space, the construction of landscaped highways, the creation of a modern water supply system, the radical environmental politics of the barrio in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the contemporary politics of the environmental justice movement. Drawing on political economy, environmental studies, social theory, cultural theory, and architecture, Gandy shows how New York's environmental history is bound up not only with the upstate landscapes that stretch beyond the city's political boundaries but also with more distant places that reflect the nation's colonial and imperial legacies. Using the shifting meaning of nature under urbanization as a framework, he looks at how modern nature has been produced through interrelated transformations ranging from new water technologies to changing fashions in landscape design. Throughout, he considers the economic and ideological forces that underlie phenomena as diverse as the location of parks and the social stigma of dirty neighborhoods.

About the Author

Matthew Gandy is Professor of Geography at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (MIT Press), recipient of the 2003 Spiro Kostof Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, and The Fabric of Space: Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination (MIT Press), recipient of the 2014 Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography, given by the American Association of Geographers, and has published widely on urban, cultural, and environmental themes.

Praise for Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (Urban and Industrial Environments)

...a fascinating overview of New York City's technological and social infrastructures.—Journal of Architectural Education

Gandy has pieced together a fascinating environmental history of New York.

Publishers Weekly

Concrete and Clay is a towering achievement and a wonderful addition to the literature on the urban environment.

Ari Kelman, American Studies

Gandy deftly and provocatively connects issue of health, politics, economics, and urbanology in a compulsively readable and illuminating cultural analysis.

Publishers Weekly