the parallels between environmental discourses and practices as against the
rapid changing urban context is one of the multiple ways required to focus
attention on emerging issues related to the urban environment.
interface between nature-culture and urban–rural produces ‘‘hybrid’’ spaces (Swyngedouw,
2005) that are managed with difficulty given ‘‘the separation of urban from
environmental analyses’’ (Harvey, 1996) and the fact that ‘‘separate sets of
people and institutions work on urban and conservation issues’’ (Trzyna, 2007,
p. 43). Urban sprawl is endangering the neighbouring protected areas;
conversely, cities are suffering from environmental degradation (landslides,
water problems, climate change, etc.). Terms such as “urban nature”, “city
forests” or “urban parks” remain challenging oxymorons, whereas the close
integration of the city and the protected area may turn to be the only solution
to allow the survival of both spaces.
regards to national parks, academic literature has been more concerned with
parks outside cities since they cover a much larger surface area and are
important sites of preservation (for fauna and flora biodiversity). This
literature has also raised important questions regarding the production and the
usage of urban nature. In the cities in the South, perceptions and uses of urban
forests differ more strikingly across socio-economic groups than in developed
countries. While middle and upper classes will perceive urban parks either as a
protected environment or a leisure space (Mawdsley et al., 2009), some sections
of the poor population will still rely on the forest for timber, fire wood or other
uses. The latter still tend to consider ‘‘nature’’ as a source of livelihood:
they live off their environment. The former tend to consider ‘‘nature’’ as
Northern countries do, for recreation or the conservation of global
biodiversity: they live in their environment (Zérah, Landy, 2012).
two different representations and practices of the environment often coexist,
sometimes in the same neighbourhood, enhancing the potential of conflicts.