In this episode of MWI’s Urban Warfare Project podcast, John Spencer is joined by Dr. Richard Norton. He is a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College and a retired US Navy commander. While in the Navy, he served extensively at sea on cruisers and destroyers, as well as shore tours in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs and the Navy Staff.

In the conversation, Dr. Norton discusses his research on feral cities, a term he coined to describe a large urban area in which the state had lost the ability to maintain the rule of law yet remains a functioning actor in the greater international system. He explains the implications of things like pandemics pollution, specifically with respect to feral cities and basic human needs. His taxonomy of city health also calls into question how the international community assesses the health of a city and, more broadly, whether we have the right expertise to even properly understand major cities.

The articles discussed in the conversation include:

“Every City is Different. That’s Why A One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Urban Operations Won’t Work,” by John Spencer and John Amble, Modern War Institute

“Feral Cities,” by Richard Norton, Naval War College Review

“Feral Cities: Problems Today, Battlefields Tomorrow?” Marine Corps University Journal

Listen to the full episode below. You can also find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

Image credit: Laura Heaton, Enough Project