Anthropocene 2050
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Anthropocene 2050


December 2021

As the myth of the urban exodus continues its meteoric rise with the pandemic and the spread of the telecommuting virus, researchers are reading a land grab as part of a real estate investment strategy. Meanwhile in the city, in The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021), David Wengrow & David Graeber show that urbanity has not always been synonymous with inequality.

Enjoy a peaceful holiday season! 🌟✨

A monthly publication by Lyon Urban School (Université de Lyon), dedicated to a better understanding of global change and the Anthropocene urban world: a selection of news in many fields of study to grasp the world we live in and the world to come.

“Bridge and artificial trees” (Dubai, 2018) © Mario Del Curto

📢 Enjoy reading or listening to original Anthropocene podcasts: Net Zero, Algorithms , Drink or Drive.

Check out the selection of Anthropocene Good Reads #2020: 60 books in many fields of knowledge to help understand what is happening and what is coming.

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- “The urban exodus, a myth”: “The myth of the “return to the land” goes back as far as the expansion of our cities. From theory to practice, there is a big gap, as the massive reception of new populations in rural areas is illusory. Medium-sized cities seem a much more realistic compromise” (AOC, 02/12/2021).

- The Dark Side of 15-Minute City: “Mini-warehouses dubbed “dark stores” are quietly taking over urban retail space. Left unregulated, the insatiable demand for faster delivery will only hasten the erosion of community life” (Bloomberg City Lab, 07/12/2021).

- “Behind the “urban exodus”, land grabbing? After studying the effects of new settlements of city dwellers in peripheral areas, Aurélie Delage and Max Rousseau, two researchers specializing in housing issues, launch an appeal. In their eyes, the arrival of families in search of a better living space masks a deeper phenomenon: the multiplication of investment property purchases and seasonal rentals that are driving away local populations” (L’Obs, 06/12/2021).

- “The status of contaminated sites in Italy”(Anthropocene2050, 02/12/2021).

- “Living in a ‘datafied’ city”: in Singapore, the smart city as a city of surveillance and exclusion (AOC, 30/11/2021).

- Urbanization does not determine inequality. In ancient times, “in the Ukraine or Moldavia, you find infrastructures that can accommodate thousands of people, without a central government or form of administration, without anything organized or centralized.” An interview with David Wengrow, author with David Graeber of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021) (Usbek & Rica, 30/11/2021).

- An interview with the geographer Michel Lussault: « How to make the city in the Anthropocene era? When it comes to transitions, adaptation will not be enough» (La Gazette, 23/11/2021).

- “Densifying wastelands, a panacea for promoting the compact city? The Inter-Friches collective examines the different ways of regulating wastelands and the forms of public action they give rise to in France, Belgium and Switzerland” (métropolitiques, 15/11/2021).

- “What It Means to Design a Space for ‘Care’?” (Bloomberg CityLab, 04/11/2021).

“Endless night #3” (2009) © Alexander Gronsky


- Healthy and sustainable food for the world’s growing population (nature, 01/12/2021).

- “Livestock farming in the Anthropocene: In the 20th century, the mechanization of agriculture led to the decoupling of crop and livestock production in order to maximize yields. It is urgent to invent ways to reconcile them” (La vie des idées, 09/11/2021).

- “Local food in deprived areas: from ideas to reality. Local food is often criticized for being only accessible to well-off people. So, what does it take to engage people living in more deprived areas? In an article published in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, researchers from Newcastle, Sheffield and Northumbria universities tell the story of the attempt to develop a food hub in a Newcastle estate. Their account for what worked, but also, what did not, casts a new light on how local food can take root in communities” (Urban Food Futures, September 2021).


- “The countless stories in which a courageous young hero stops a monster and revolutionizes a society are now considered simplistic fantasies by teenagers who now aspire to stories with collective and concrete solutions that can be activated immediately to reverse the order of things” (Usbek & Rica, 12/11/2021).


- Reforestation: understanding natural rainforest restoration instead of frantically planting trees to offset carbon emissions (The Conversation, 09/12/2021).


- An analysis of the failure of 30 years of climate policies to reduce carbon emissions (they are, on the contrary, 60% higher than in 1990) through 9 factors: climate governance, the fossil fuel industry, geopolitics, economics, mitigation modeling, energy systems, inequity, lifestyles, and social imaginaries. A study that underlines the central role of power in its most diverse forms (Annual Reviews, October 2021).


- In Paraguay, indigenous peoples are fighting against the soy agroindustry that is driving them off their land and polluting them with pesticides (AlJazeera, 30/11/2021).

- In Morocco, a large part of the renewable energy production (wind and solar) comes from the occupied territory of Western Sahara (The Conversation, 26/11/2021).

- On the island of Borneo (Malaysia), the territory of indigenous communities has become the focus of a trade in ecosystem services for foreign companies wishing to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, without any consultation with the people concerned (Mongabay, 09/11/2021).

© Matt Dunlap


- In the context of climate change, the economist Michel Aglietta calls for the urgent implementation of a political ecology, which consists in integrating sustainability criteria into budgetary and monetary policies, financial regulation and corporate governance (The Conversation, 14/11/2021).

- Analyzing the cost of climate mitigation (nature, 11/11/2021).

- “Thinking about our needs to change the economy. What do we really need? Asking this question is already changing the logic of the economy” (Médiapart, 07/11/2021).


- An investigation into lithium, “the white gold of the green economy: lithium is a metal that is essential for the construction of electric vehicle batteries. The environmental consequences of its extraction are still very little studied, and its recycling, if considered, would be very energy consuming” (Reporterre, 29/11/2021).

- The exploitation of cobalt in Congo, essential for electric vehicles, is the scene of the rivalry between China and the United States (The New York Times, 20/11/2021).

- The science of batteries and the people who use them: “The ecological transition will not happen without the contribution of science and its technical applications. We need to invent new batteries to store electricity, but we also need to develop our ability to repair them and use them in a smarter way” (la vie des idées, 16/11/2021).


- “Overcoming stereotypes about health and urban planning: the keys to sustainable urbanism. How can sustainable urban planning be a lever for combining ecological transition and health? What developments are emerging in light of the health crisis?” (ADEME).


- “Is the concept of the Anthropocene as “revolutionary” as some claim? Interview with Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, historian of science, technology and the environment, and Barbara Glowczewski, anthropologist”: “The question of awareness is an old chestnut. It is a very gratifying story: we would suddenly have become, in the XXIst century, the first generation to have accessed to the “environmental reflexivity”, to question progress. Once again, when we delve into the archives, we realize that this construction is entirely false” (Usbek & Rica, 12/12/2021).

- Giving nature a legal personality and rewarding it for its work would “reappear the dead ends of neoclassical economic doctrine, which naturalizes work and value instead of thinking of them as phenomena inseparable from social relations” (AOC, 10/12/2021).

- “Bruno Latour: “Ecology is the new class struggle” : “Geosocial” is there to say that we will have to add to all the classical definitions of class oppositions, the attachment to the territory and to the material conditions of life or even of survival” (Le Monde, 10/12/2021).


- Thinking about geoengineering on a global scale before a nation decides to send sulfate into the atmosphere without identifying the global consequences (wired, 30/11/2021).


- “The radical reduction of working time: an ecological, social and democratic challenge. Reducing working time reduces both the consumption linked to work — transport, energy and human work in the workplace, compensated by leisure time after work — as well as part of the consumption of goods and market services, since we find the time to satisfy our needs ourselves by taking care of food, housing and relatives, rather than entrusting these tasks to professionals” (AOC, 13/12/2021).

- Why climate change is sexist (Natural History Museum, 11/11/2021).


- Sewage: only 25 sites produce half of the world’s nitrogen pollution from wastewater (Scientific American, 12/11/2021).




Un blog de recherche de l’Ecole Urbaine de Lyon pour réfléchir sur la dimension urbaine de l’Anthropocène. // A Lyon Urban School’s research blog to reflect on the urban dimension of the Anthropocene.

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berenice gagne

berenice gagne

Vigie de l’Anthropocène à l’École urbaine de Lyon. Un œil sur le Capitalocène & le Plantationocène, mon 3è œil sur le Patriarcalocène

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