Finding comfort and conviviality with urban trees
This paper develops cultural geographic understandings of more-than-human comfort and conviviality by analysing emails sent to trees living in the City of Melbourne, Australia. The emails arrive from near and far, sharing personal dilemmas, jokes, poetry, confessions, political concerns, and more. These messages provide a unique opportunity to consider how trees become foregrounded in people’s everyday lives. Working through the geographies of comfort expressed in these emails, the paper develops understanding about the politics of dis/comfort by examining how it is generative of conviviality. In doing so, the paper builds on a small body of work exploring more-than-human conviviality by bringing comfort into these discussions. The paper argues this sensibility provides insights into: how and why attachments between humans and other-than-humans are fostered and maintained; how trees shape and are shaped by urban places; and, how comfort, as an overlooked element of more-than-human conviviality, can be politically generative, assisting in the re-imagining of human and tree togetherness.
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Australian Research Council