Crafting Nature, Cultivating Gender

While the majority of gender history has been written against the backdrop of the built environment, this project shifts the focus to the city’s gardens, parks and the urban periphery. Drawing on diverse source material, it investigates how gender relations became manifest in the design, uses and representations of these different types of urban nature.

The project seeks to position the dynamics between urban nature and gender in the context of broader processes of modernization, and focuses on the long 18th century as a tipping point toward new cultural, aesthetic and socio-economic paradigms. In doing so, the project traces the historic association of both women and nature with the concept of ‘disorder’ and their cultural juxtaposition with the spatial order of the modern city.

The research draws on material from 18th century Berlin and Amsterdam. This allows for an exploration of gender and urban nature in the context of two opposing paradigms of urban development: the ‘shrinking city’ and the ‘boomtown’. 

Researcher: Antonia Weiss