‘Urban Ecological Security’: A New Urban Paradigm?


The term ‘ecological security’ is usually used in relation to attempts to safeguard flows of ecological resources, infrastructure and services at the national scale. But increasing concerns over ‘urban ecological security’ (UES) are now giving rise to strategies to reconfigure cities and their infrastructures in ways that help to secure their ecological and material reproduction. Yet cities have differing capacities and capabilities for developing strategic responses to the opportunities and constraints of key UES concerns. These include resource constraints and climate change, and consequently these newly emerging strategies may selectively privilege particular urban areas and particular social interests over others. In this article, we focus on world cities and outline the challenges posed by the growing concern for UES. We review the emerging responses that may increasingly form a new dominant ‘logic’ of infrastructure provision, which we characterize as Secure Urbanism and Resilient Infrastructure (SURI). We conclude by addressing the extent to which this new dominant ‘logic’ underpins a new strategy of accumulation or more ‘progressive’ politics by outlining alternatives to SURI, possibilities for shaping SURI more ‘progressively’ and developing an agenda for future research.