Everyday human (in)securities in protected urban nature – Collaborative conservation at Macassar/Wolfgat dunes nature reserves, Cape Town, South Africa

Author(s): Graham, M.
In: Geoforum 64: 25–36
Year: 2015
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Full reference: Graham, M. 2015. Everyday human (in)securities in protected urban nature: Collaborative conservation at Macassar/Wolfgat dunes nature reserves, Cape Town, South Africa. Geoforum 64: 25–36


The diverse residents of the urban global South experience insecurities in everyday, immediate and subjective ways. Lemanski argues these insecurities relate not only to physical concerns like fear, crime, and violence but also to stressors like insecure tenure and financial situations, and threatened and contested lifestyles and cultures as cities rapidly change. This paper considers how diverse ‘everyday human (in)securities’ manifest through urban nature and shape collaborations around nature conservation.

The focus is on protected coastal dunes in Cape Town and collaborative conservation participants, including municipal nature conservators and community representatives from the adjacent apartheid-era ‘townships’. The diverse ‘everyday human (in)securities’ perceived and experienced by these participants manifest variously in physical threats to bodies and biodiversity, but also in relation to the insecure tenure and financial situations experienced by residents and conservators alike, alongside differing cultural values of nature.

Through attention to diffuse power relations and everyday experiences, divergent perceptions of (in)security are shown to be frictional and sometimes paradoxical in nature. Yet identifying these (in)securities also holds potential for exploring hopeful and productive negotiations around what ‘security’ might mean, and how it might be realised through the collaborations – bringing into dialogue contested spaces of urban nature in cities of the global South and North.


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