I am giving a paper at the concluding symposium of a lecture series on ‘Critical Urban Ecology’ organised by Karin Jaschke at the University of Brighton – together with Doug Spencer and Ross Adams. I know Doug well from Westminster – where we both teach (and finish PhDs) and the AA, where he organises the theory component of the interesting Landscape Urbanism MA. I have not met Ross Adams before, but I recommend his excellent recent critique of ‘Eco-Cities’ in Radical Philosophy journal.
I will be first on and will give an overview of some concepts taken from ecology and in particular the development of the concept of metabolism in Marx and recent urban political ecology. I will briefly consider how metabolism has been theorised in neocybernetics, and will suggest how some ideas taken from Gregory Bateson might inform the development of these ideas today.