Susan Larson deposited Madrid Río, El Matadero and the Nature of Urbanization in the group Urban Cultural Studies on MLA Commons 1 week, 1 day ago
This essay considers two closely related high-profile urban renewal projects that have altered the landscape of the southern region of Madrid since 2007: Madrid Río and El Matadero Madrid Centro de Creación Contemporánea. While the former is often cast as renovating the ‘natural’ ecology of the city and the latter a renovation of its cultural landscape, both Madrid Río and El Matadero commodify the closely related concepts of ecological sustainability and nature. By analyzing the circulation of these discourses of nature and ecological sustainability along with their material expression in the urban landscape, we argue that these projects find new ways of enclosing, containing, packaging and selling Nature in Madrid on a global scale. In doing so, the Madrid Río and Matadero throw into relief the ways that cultural production frames our relationship and understanding of ecological sensibility. The production of new urban environments and the infrastructure that makes them possible (the metabolic conditions and technologies that permit for the flow of energy, food, information, bodies, and things) are always mediated by institutional arrangements that are occasionally democratic, but are always deeply committed to the unending expansion of the circulation of capital—a prospect that is implicitly not ecological.