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Joe Williams and Erik Swyngedouw
The opening chapter of this book makes the intellectual and political argument for a more critical understanding of seawater desalination as an emerging phenomenon of water governance. Its purpose, in this sense, is to politicise seawater. The chapter provides an overview of the historic and contemporary development of desalting technologies and the global desalination industry. We argue that, rather than seeing desalination as a water management ‘solution’, it should instead be understood as a socio-technical and political ecological ‘fix’, which allows cities, regions and countries to overcome some of the hydrological barriers to growth and accumulation, while creating or intensifying other social and ecological contradictions. These contradictions, we demonstrate, revolve around the governance of water, privatisation and commercialisation, the water-energy nexus, and marine ecology. Finally, we summarise the substantive chapters included in the book.
Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer
In 1843, the British colonial government in Hong Kong designated the northern coast of Hong Kong Island as the City of Victoria. Hindered by natural resource shortages and a poor natural environment, the government had to make use of new construction techniques and infrastructure to solve daily life problems, which included housing, transport facilities, water supply, law and order and public hygiene. The city was managed with two completely differently strategies. The Central District was mainly modelled on what was practised in the West. Commercial activities and trade were conducted in a systematic manner, and the enactment and strict enforcement of laws were key to the implementation of policies. However, the densely populated area of Sheung Wan, located in the western part of the city and inhabited by the Chinese community, was blighted by poor housing and hygiene conditions as well as high crime rates.
Hamzah Muzaini and Claudio Minca
Despite the burgeoning array of studies that have taken ‘heritage’ as their focus of concern, particularly in terms of how the past has been folded into present-oriented objectives, as well as the myriad politics associated with this, there has been comparatively lesser attention on heritage as enacted, practised and experienced on the ground, particularly those that take less visible forms and spearheaded by non-state agents either as producers or consumers of the said past. Even as these have emerged, they frequently do not go beyond romanticizing how these instances of ‘heritage-from-below’ (HFB) have served as checks to what Laurajane Smith refers to as formal ‘Authorized Heritage Discourse’ (AHD) even as there may be instances where the HFB produced not only reproduce dominant official discourses or are themselves motivated by the need to erase or forget the past. Not only does this oversight obscure alternative contexts in and through which the past may be valued within society today, it also misses out on (a more critical investigation of) the more quotidian practices, motivations and performances of heritage-making taking place especially within (in)formal spaces. In the light of this, the first part of the introductory chapter highlights the aims and rationale of the edited book in terms of (a) why there is a need to consider ‘heritage from below’ particularly from a more critical perspective, (b) how this agenda is situated and positioned within the literature on ‘heritage’ (within cultural geography, critical heritage studies and the wider social sciences), as well as (c) charting the trajectories that this may take. Following this, the rest of the chapter introduces the different case studies that make up the edited book with respect to how each speaks to the key trajectories of the book.