Life-support: The political ecology of urban air

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  2. Professor Stephen Graham
Author(s)Graham S
Publication type Article
JournalCity: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action
ISSN (print)1360-4813
ISSN (electronic)1470-3629
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Humans, increasingly, manufacturer their own air. In and around the three-dimensional aerial environments within and above urban regions, this manufacture of air reaches particular levels of intensity. For a species which expires without air in two or three minutes, this anthropogenic manufacture of air is of incalculable importance. Curiously, however, urban air remains remarkably neglected within the political-ecological literatures. Accordingly, this paper suggests a range of key themes which a political ecology of urban air needs to address. These address, in turn, the links between global warming, urban heart-island effects and killer urban heat-waves; urban pollution crises; the paradoxes of urban pollution; horizontal movements of polluted air; the vertical politics of urban air; the construction of vertical condominiums structures for elites; the vicious circles that characterised air-conditioned urbanism; heat-related deaths of workers building air-conditioned structures in increasingly hot climates; and, finally, the growth of large-scale air-conditioned environments.
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