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Urban Green Assemblage: A Machinic-MLG Approach to Green Cities

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Pey, Peili 


As the climate crisis escalates, increasing emphasis is placed upon urban solutions, through urban futures and sociotechnical imaginaries such as the green city agenda. The thesis critically examines the green city agenda in its presumptive context of a multi-level governance often characterised by humans enacting upon the city infrastructure. Through the case study of Singapore, a city that is allegedly ‘green’, the research seeks to go beyond human-centric, static, and dichotomous approaches, and instead approach the green city as one of vital machineries and urban rhythms. By drawing upon the assemblage theory, the thesis conceives of the green city as self-governing, continually arranging, reinforcing and dismantling. The green city is not just a result of social, political and economic influences wrought by human governance, but it is also intrinsically tied to past, existing and future networks of infrastructure, creating an entanglement that is more-than-human. Using qualitative interviews and observational studies in the field, the thesis approaches the organising of the green city from the ground up. Environmental-economic-social-political dimensions of the green city agenda are examined through interconnected human and nonhuman infrastructural networks. The thesis draws upon insights in urban greening, waste management and smart initiatives to make visible the hidden infrastructures and peoples. The tensions and struggles of inequality found at the nexus of hidden sociotechnical networks give rise to further spaces for political and social examination and reveals the dynamics of unsustainability where capitalist modes are reinforced in urban assemblages. Where these tensions occur is conceptualised as the areas of possibilities and rupture, facilitating change for a more environmentally sustainable urban future.





Amin, Ash
Gandy, Matthew


Green city, Machinic, Multi-level governance, Smart city, Sociotechnical assemblage, Urban green assemblage


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge