The University of Arizona

Suburban wilderness in the Houston metropolitan landscape

Deanna H. Schmidt

Abstract


Abstract This article examines the intersections of community activism and wilderness in the sprawling suburban and industrial landscapes of Houston, Texas, in the United States. The Houston metropolitan region's rapid urban development, laissez-faire land use planning, and world-class petrochemical industries provide a critical context to explore the material and conceptual relations of wilderness. Building upon recent debates regarding the production of nature, the article argues that wilderness is and always has been integrated into our everyday suburban landscapes. The empirical data discussed reveals the practices and processes (re)producing wilderness materially and conceptually within the contemporary relations of urban life. It challenges us to envision wilderness as internal to society and society as internal to wilderness. The results suggest that wilderness, instead of being external and in need of protection, is internal to the human experience and therefore internal to our urban landscapes. Key Words: wilderness, urban development, production of nature, community activism, Houston, TX

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v24i1.20793

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