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Defend, Retreat and Attack: Urban Waters and Valuation Practices
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
2022 (English)In: Water Alternatives, E-ISSN 1965-0175, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 175-192Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the river landscapes and concomitant values resulting from tensions between floodmanagement and visions of a River City. The aim is to contribute to an understanding of the management of urbanwaters as valuation practices. We regard valuation practices as co-constitutive of current and future riverlandscapes. Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg, is located next to the sea, and the Göta River, Sweden’slargest water system, runs through it. Our empirical focus is on how this city approaches increasing risks of flooding.We explore three approaches that have been formulated in relation to flood management: defend, retreat andattack. We ask how these approaches are applied in the management of Göta River flooding and in the city’s visionof a future Gothenburg that embraces the river as a genuinely positive aspect of urban life. We present the case asa journey that takes us upstream from the river’s sea inlet port and through Gothenburg. During our kilometre bykilometre journey, the river’s appearance shifts. The varied river landscape mirrors the diversity in how its watersare valuated, both historically and in present times. The perception of urban waters is shaped by practices ofvaluation. These valuations are generative. They connect the value of water to other entities, actors, plans, activitiesand buildings, and they are thus key to the river landscapes that will eventually be realised. By way of conclusion,we identify a number of governance challenges that are particularly relevant to urban rivers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 5, no 1, p. 175-192
Keywords [en]
Flood management, urban planning, visions, river landscapes, valuation practices, Sweden
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-217070OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-217070DiVA, id: diva2:1756483
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2013-0019Available from: 2023-05-12 Created: 2023-05-12 Last updated: 2024-04-22Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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