Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Border troubles: urban nature and the remaking of public/private divides

Armstrong, Andrea; Bulkeley, Harriet; Tozer, Laura; Kotsila, Panagiota

Border troubles: urban nature and the remaking of public/private divides Thumbnail


Laura Tozer

Panagiota Kotsila


Traditional interventions to “bring nature into the city” were often motivated by a concern to create forms of public space which would provide a public good. Despite such well-intentioned motivations, these public forms of urban nature have always been to some extent bounded, serving some in favor of others, authorizing particular uses and forms of behavior as more or less legitimate, and policing the boundaries of who is/not included in such space. In this paper, we argue that new interventions seeking to bring nature-based solutions (NBS) into the city serve to further trouble these boundaries. NBS seek to use nature to address urban sustainability challenges and they navigate and serve to reconfigure what is (and is not) public in the city. We draw on research undertaken in three cities – Newcastle (United Kingdom), Cape Town (South Africa) and Athens (Greece) to explore the ways in which notions of the private and the public are being remade with and through nature, and its implications for how we might understand urban politics. Our conclusions point to the need for governance arrangements that can support the long-term stewardship of nature in the public interest and with due accountability and we suggest three arrangements.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 4, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 6, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 12, 2022
Journal Urban Geography
Print ISSN 0272-3638
Electronic ISSN 1938-2847
Publisher Bellweather Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


Published Journal Article (2.5 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations