This chapter introduces the idea of the Third Urban Revolution and the contemporary urban moment. It outlines how cities are a crucial juncture for political economy and civil society, the setting for new subjectivities and the platform for progressive social change, and provides an introduction to the chapters in the book. Keywords: urban moment, third urban revolution, cities, urbanization
David L. Feldman
Cities place enormous pressures on freshwater availability because they are often located some distance from the water sources needed by their populations. This compels them to build infrastructure to divert water from increasingly distant outlying rural areas, thus disrupting their social fabric and their environment. In addition, increasing urbanization due to population growth, economic change and sprawl places huge burdens upon the institutions as well as the infrastructure that delivers and treats urban water. Finally, the spatial “footprint” caused by sprawling horizontal urban development and annexation imposes numerous problems including paving of city streets and commercial districts (which contributes to pollutant runoff and diminished groundwater recharge); consumption of water for parks and outdoor residential use (increasing evapotranspiration and taxing local supplies); and urban waste discharges that affect local to global biogeochemical cycles and climate.