• suburbs;
  • land speculation;
  • flood mitigation;
  • urban political ecology;
  • New Orleans


This paper presents results from a study of environmental harm created in the collision of real estate speculation and the political process that governed extension of the urban frontier of New Orleans into its eastern wetlands. Near term concerns of rent-seeking real estate capital and the contested politics of urban infrastructure expansion challenged a fragmented state charged with regulatory oversight and protection of investments in land and citizens. The paper engages theoretically the relative inattention of urban political ecology theory to rent as a way to theorize how capital flows through land, and argues for increased attention to the problem of land rent and the multiple scales of political engagement that manage ecological crisis immanent in the metabolism of nature and society under capitalism.