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Managing nature and narratives of dispossession: reclaiming territory in Cardiff Bay

Cowell, Richard John Westley ORCID: and Thomas, Alun Huw ORCID: 2002. Managing nature and narratives of dispossession: reclaiming territory in Cardiff Bay. Urban studies 39 (7) , pp. 1241-1260. 10.1080/00420980220135581

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This paper builds upon Watts and Peet's notion of an 'environmental imaginary' to conceptualise the distinctive ways in which the politics of nature are inserted into urban regeneration strategies. In particular, it seeks to examine how regional discursive formations frame the scope for a transformation of urban ecological politics. The chosen case study, the redevelopment of Cardiff Bay, would seem to have offered a significant opportunity for fashioning a more radical urban ecological politics, because the strategy's proponents bridged social and ecological worlds in an unusually explicit way in their justificatory narratives of dispossession, bound up with a major physical reconstruction of the dockland environment. These narratives are shown to be grounded in the historical development of the near-hegemonic regional coalitions of south Welsh politics, and to unfold in the treatment of both the ethnic minority residential community within Cardiff's docks, and the estuarine environment, as 'deviant' in a number of respects—in need of 'reclamation' and 'integration' with the rest of Cardiff and Wales as a whole. The analysis considers why radical ecological politics failed to develop and whether the contradictions inherent in the regeneration strategy might yet encourage its emergence.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Sage in association with Urban Studies Journal Limited
ISSN: 1360063X
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 09:11

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