Call for papers

Temporalities of urban natures: imaginaries, narratives, and practices

Workshop Series 2021-22

Organisers:  Lucilla Barchetta (Università Iuav di Venezia) & Mathilda Rosengren (Malmö Universitet)
Keynote speakers: Bianca Maria Rinaldi (Politecnico di Torino); Henriette Steiner (Københavns Universitet); Sandra Jasper (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

The search for viable avenues for multispecies coexistence is fast becoming a defining feature of the Anthropocene. Only in the past year, the concurrent emergencies of climate change and SARSCov2 have underscored the intimate relations between human-shaped environments and the disastrous deterioration of once thriving ecosystems. As such, more-than-human appropriations of urban space illuminate both complex challenges and potential solutions to a sustainable co-existing in the Anthropocene city.

In this context, the workshop series seeks to explore how different temporal entanglements structure, affect, and co-produce urban landscapes of the Anthropocene city through three overlapping thematic approaches (narratives, imaginaries, and practices).

Material Narratives of Urban Natures

We are interested in examining urban natures as material testimonies of urban pasts, presents, and potential futures. Bringing environmental musings from anthropology, archaeology, and geography – where linear, historical time is but one of many temporalities affecting landscapes – to urban settings, we ask how narratives of the urban may be reconstructed to include the material agencies and storytelling of non-human beings and more-than-human urban cohabitation.

Environmental Imaginaries of Urban Change

We turn to environmental imaginaries to untangle how tensions around changes in urban natures do not solely concern human spatio-temporal schemas but also divergent, contradicting, and embodied more-than-human temporalities of growth and stagnation, death and decay. We are interested in how rhetorics of urban progress and ideologies of conservation often establish a division between matter-in-time and matter out-of-time, assigning culpability to those that “block” change or are the supposed causes of undesirable changes.

Practices of Environmental Design

We want to address the value of adopting a temporal approach when designing for the Anthropocene city. In particular, we are interested in exploring how urban natures, initially encouraged and designed for, over time come to be seen as nuisances, and, conversely, how the temporal qualities of previously undesirable or overlooked non-human bodies become fundamental elements in the design practice.   

We invite urban nature scholars across the social sciences, the humanities, and the fields of arts and architecture – with a regional expertise on Northern Italy, the Öresund region, or Eastern Germany – to reflect on the temporalities of urban nature over the course of three connected workshops in Venice (Università Iuav di Venezia), Malmö (Malmö Universitet), and Berlin (Georg-Simmel-Center for Metropolitan Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) respectively. We particularly encourage submissions that display strong empirical engagements with the regions in question. 

Each workshop will be run in a hybrid format (in person and online) to accommodate for potential travel and gathering restrictions caused by the pandemic. In the spirit of building and maintaining conversations around the series, papers will be selected according to both the relevance of the proposed topic and the applicants capacity to participate in each of the three workshops (online or in person). The whole series will be held in English.

Submission details

Please send an abstract (300 words maximum plus 3 keywords) and a short bio (100 words maximum) to, by the 15 June 2021, stating which workshop you wish to present at (Venice, Malmö, or Berlin) and if you foresee any challenges in attending any of the workshop sessions (whether in person or online).

Direct any queries to

The workshop has been made possible by a Seminar Series Award from the Urban Studies Foundation (read more about it here).