New article on how a water pipeline has shaped urbanisation and contemporary urban life

By September 16, 2021 No Comments

Prof Vanesa Castán Broto, Dr Hita Unnikrishnan and their colleague H.S.Sudhira have recently published an article “Walk the Pipeline: Urban Infrastructure Landscapes in Bengaluru’s Long Twentieth Century” in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Walking reveals how urban infrastructure lends identity to the urban landscape. This article focuses on the oldest water pipeline in the city of Bengaluru, India. A series of vignettes trace the linear trajectory of the walk both in terms of the spatial orientation of the pipeline, and its trajectory through time. Through space, the pipeline connects the centre of the city with its suburbs, tracking differential and sometimes invisible patterns of urbanization that follow the city’s sprawl. Through time, the pipeline connects water narratives, from nostalgic notions of precolonial management to the contemporary construction of scarcity. The use of walking as a methodological tool draws attention to the subsumed and often invisible experiences of inequity in various parts of the city. The pipeline is a maker of urban stories alongside routine practices and larger strategic projects of urban development. While the pipeline enables the provision of water, the neighbourhoods it passes through are sometimes excluded from the service it provides. Strategic projects have attempted to control water resources following different ways of imagining the city. Still, such urban imaginations coexist with a more extensive set of everyday practices that engage with the pipeline in the urban landscape.

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Image credit: “Old water pipe” by kbrookes is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0