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Locating Water-Cycles in the Lower Lea Watershed

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Abstract:

London has lower per capita water availability than Sudan or Syria (Waterwise 2009). Its citizens should be careful about this crucial resource, but because they have an identity of living in a wet drizzly city situated on a river, they also have the misperception that there is plenty of water available for their use.

This research looks into the lives of citizens who affect the water-cycle in the lower Lea watershed in contemporary east London. It examines how humans and the material world we inhabit currently assembles and affects the water-cycle in this urban area using an actor- network-theory framework.

Fifty-three citizens participated to this research. They included environmentally aware residents, council staff, employees of the water and waste-water provider, government organizations and non-government organizations. Participants were interviewed and asked to complete a water diary about their personal water-cycles. Heroic efforts for water recycling and new practices of acceptable levels of hygiene were found. These habits, opinions, technologies and knowledge were analysed for common themes that may form new water- cycles and therefore new infrastructures, material moralities and urban form in the future.

Keywords: Actor-network-theory; infrastructure; material morality; urban form; water-cycle

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864710798285165

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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