The editorial team of the semi-annual “Porównania” calls for submissions to volume 2(36)/2024 entitled:

Urban Jungle – Urban Desert – Urban Meadow


Cities are born from diverse social, economic, political and ideological processes, creating as a result a complex network of connections which appear in their space, architecture, social interactions and, finally, in the imaginarium that they create. The city and specific cities are present in literature – to mention only Bulgakov’s Moscow, Reymont’s “promised land” or Balzac’s Paris – and constitute a permanent painting subject as well – either as complete veduta or in Pissarro’s impressionist snapshots. Also the most outstanding scientists, such as Juri Lotman, have interpreted the image of the city, while cultural studies have witnessed the rise of urban studies (Ewa Rewers). Today, the image of the city is being devalued due to the general excess of iconographic messaging in the form of photos from travels, blogs and tourist guides. So what else do those images of cities have in offer?

The terms mentioned above are located on different levels of meaning: the “urban jungle” is one of the metaphors that depict living in a city, expressing the power of life present in nature and the urban sensuality that could even be deemed demonic. In principle, it refers to the city’s dark and dangerous alleyways where cultural and social constraints wane and people show their primal instincts. In this sense, the city could become a scenery that not only allows for but even triggers such instinctive reactions. This kind of connotation appears in both literature (in Poland, for instance, in Berent’s Próchno [Dry rot], but also in Marek Krajewski’s crime novels popular today) and paintings (e.g. the works of Kirchner). The concrete desert is an image of hostile urban spaces that result from modernist planning decisions: large panel system-estates combined with unfriendly squares and streets devoid of greenery that appeared in city centres. In this context, we can recall Nicolas Grospierre and Kobas Laksa’s concrete dystopia presented in the Polish Pavilion in Venice in 2008.

Standing in contrast to these terms is the urban meadow, linked to the initiatives of those living in the city, which is located on the level of activity rather than metaphors. The urban meadow is emblematic of the ecological initiatives started within urban spaces, encompassing both the larger projects and social or individual actions aimed at turning the ecological viewpoint of the era into reality.

Nature thus becomes a mirror reflecting the culture of the anthropocene, an example of which is Joanna Rajkowska’s palm in Pozdrowienia z Alej Jerozolimskich (Greetings from Aleje Jerozolimskie) or her unrealised project Miastobagno (Cityswamp). This idea is visible in urban planning, alternative activities such as the “green guerilla” and, for instance, in the green walls of CaixaForum in Madrid or the ecological designs of houses and cities of the future that reveal the shift in the urban space paradigm.

The associations evoked here indicate the vast range of issues related to the city and nature: planning, shaping, sensing, describing. The dangers of the urban jungle sparked the creation of the urbanist concepts of healing the city, turning the jungle into a sterile concrete space or into a park – an ordered urban landscape. This is accompanied by the changes in the social life and customs of city living and by philosophical questions about the relationship between humans and nature, humans and the city or the city and nature. We may wonder whether the imaginations of urban nature have currently taken on new, additional meanings.

It seems that urban metaphors referring to nature often carry negative connotations, while the urban nature-related activities are seen definitely positively. This is why questions appear: what jungle, what desert and what meadow do we now invoke in those associations – both in the images of the natural jungle or the urban jungle or desert? What is their aim? Do they stand in opposition to the technological visions of the city or do they complement it? Are these metaphors still valid and do they allow us to understand the specificity of the city and/or nature?

We invite literature, film and cultural experts, sociologists, historians, art critics and historians as well as architecture and landscape researchers to submit their publications related to the city as an urban, social and philosophical phenomenon.

Please submit your applications (summaries up to 10 sentences) by November 30, 2023 to the editors of this issue. The final date of article submission via the PRESSto platform is May 15, 2024. The accepted languages of the submitted articles are: Polish, English and German. You are kindly asked to read the editorial guidelines for authors available at

prof. dr hab. inż. arch. Piotr Marciniak

prof. PP dr hab. Hanna Grzeszczuk-Brendel



Call for papers

2024 July 9

you are most welcome so submit the subjects of your articles for the new volume of “Porównania” (2025/2). This issue will be a monograph whose main theme will be REFUGEEISM and its literary testimonies, definitions, representations and consequences.

Read more about Call for papers