Contested Urban Waterscapes

Reading list

Urban political ecology

Angelo, H. and Wachsmuth, D. 2014. Urbanizing urban political ecology: A critique of methodological cityism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 1-14.

Braun, B. 2005. Environmental issues: Writing a more-than-human urban geography. Progress in Human Geography 29(5): 635-650.

Gabriel, N. 2014. Urban political ecology: environmental imaginary, governance, and the non-human. Geography Compass 8(1): 38-48.

Gandy, M. 2006. Planning, anti-planning and the infrastructure crisis facing metropolitan Lagos. Urban Studies 43(2): 371-396.

Gandy, M. 2002. Concrete and clay: Reworking nature in New York City. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Graham, S.; Desai, R. and McFarlane, C. 2013. Water wars in Mumbai. Public Culture 25: 115-141.

Heynen, N.; Kaïka, M. and Swyngedouw, E. (eds.) 2006. In the nature of cities: Urban political ecology and the politics of urban metabolism. London and New York: Routledge.

Kaïka, M. 2005. City of flows: Modernity, nature, and the city. London and New York: Routledge.

Lawhon, M.; Ernstson, H. and Silver, J. 2014. Provincializing urban political ecology: Towards a situated UPE through African urbanism. Antipode 46(2): 497-516.

Loftus, A. 2012. Everyday environmentalism: Creating an urban political ecology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Rademacher, A. 2015. Urban Political Ecology. Annual Review of Anthropology 44: 137-152.

Swyngedouw, E. 2004. Social power, and the urbanization of water: Flows of power. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Water and citizenship

Anand, N. 2012. Municipal disconnect: On abject water and its urban infrastructures. Ethnography 13(4): 487-509.

Castro, J.E. 2006. Water, power and citizenship: Social struggle in the Basin of Mexico. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

López, M. 2016. Struggling for public, reclaiming citizenship: Everyday practices of access to water in Medellín. Colombia. In McDonald, D.A. (Eds). Making public in a privatized world. The struggle for essential services, pp 165-178. London: Zed Books.

Ranganathan, M. 2014. Paying for pipes, claiming citizenship: Political agency and water reforms at the urban periphery. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38 (2): 590-608.

Von Schnitzler, A. 2014. Performing dignity: Human rights, citizenship and the techno-politics of law in South Africa”. American Ethnologist 41(2): 336-350.

Water and gender

Bennett, V., Dávila-Poblete, S. and Rico, M.N. (eds.) 2005. Opposing currents: The politics of water and gender in Latin America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Truelove, Y. 2011. Re-conceptualizing water inequality in Delhi, India through a feminist political ecology framework. Geoforum 42: 143-152.

Sultana, F., Mohanty, C.T. and S. Miraglia, S. 2013. Gender justice and public water for all: Insights from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Municipal Services Project (MSP) Occasional Paper No. 18: 1-24.

Zwarteveen, M., Ahmed, S. and Gautam, S.R. (eds.) 2012. Diverting the flow: Gender equity and water in South Asia. New Delhi: Zubaan Publishers.

Materiality of water

Anand, N. 2011. PRESSURE: The politechnics of water in Mumbai. Cultural Anthropology 26(4): 542-564.

Sultana, F. 2009. Community and participation in water resources management: Gendering and naturing development debates from Bangladesh.Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 34(3): 346-363.

Human right to water

Sultana, F. and Loftus, A. (eds.) 2012. The right to water: Politics, governance and social struggles. Abingdon: Earthscan.

Bakker, K. 2007. The commons versus the commodity: ‘Alter’-globalization, privatization, and the human right to water in the global South. Antipode 39(3): 430-455.

Mirosa, O. and Harris, L. M. 2012. Human right to water: Contemporary challenges and contours of a global debate. Antipode 44(3):932-949.

Water and neoliberalism

Bakker, K. 2010. Privatizing water: Governance failure and the world’s urban water crisis. Ithaca, NY, US: Cornell University Press.

McDonald, D.A. 2007. World city syndrome: Neoliberalism and inequality in Cape Town. New York: Routledge.

McDonald, D.A. and Ruiters, G. (eds.) 2012. Alternatives to privatization: Public options for essential services in the Global South. New York: Routledge.

McDonald, D.A. and Ruiters, G. (eds.) 2005. The age of commodity: Water privatization in Southern Africa. London: Earthscan.

Perreault, T. 2006. From the guerra del agua to the guerra del gas: Resource governance, neoliberalism and popular protest in Bolivia. Antipode 38(1): 150–172.

Water and infrastructure

Anand, N. 2017. Hydraulic city: Water and the infrastructures of citizenship in Mumbai. Durham: Duke University Press.

Coutard, O. and Rutherford, J. (eds.) 2016. Beyond the networked city: Infrastructure reconfigurations and urban change in the North and South. New York: Routledge.

Björkman, L. 2015. Politics, contested waters: Embedded infrastructures of millennial Mumbai. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Graham, S. and McFarlane, C. (eds.) 2015. Infrastructural lives. Urban infrastructure in context. New York: Routledge.

Graham, S. and Marvin, S. 2001. Splintering urbanism. Networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. London: Routledge.

Monstadt, J. 2009. Conceptualizing the political ecology of urban infrastructures: Insights from technology and urban studies. Environment and Planning A 41(8): 1924-1942.

Prepaid water systems

Anand, N. 2014. Consuming citizenship: prepaid meters and the politics of technology in Mumbai. Occasional Paper no. 53, School of Social Science, Institute for Advance Studies (IAS), Princeton.

Barnes, B. 2009. Community ‘Participation’, resistance and the water wars. Journal of Health Management 11(1): 157-166.

Bond, P. and Dugard, J. 2008. The case of Johannesburg Water: What really happened at the pre-paid ‘parish pump’. Law, Democracy and Development 12(1): 1-28.

Loftus, A. 2006. Reitification of the dictatorship of the water meter. Antipode 38(5): 1023-1045.

Marvin, S. and Simon, G. 1997. Smart metering technologies and privatized utilities. Local Economy 12(2): 119-132.

Ruiters, G. 2007. Contradictions in municipal services in contemporary South Africa: disciplinary commodification and self-disconnection. Critical Social Policy 27(4): 487-508.

Von Schnitzler, A. 2016. Democracy’s infrastructure: Techno-Politics and protest after apartheid. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Von Schnitzler, A. 2008. Citizenship prepaid: Water, calculability, and techno-politics in South Africa. Journal of Southern Africa Studies 34(4): 899-917.


Mesa Interbarrial de Desconectados
Community-based movement founded in Medellín to demand concrete solutions to the problem of disconnection of public services alongside issues such as housing and land tenure.

Decolonizando la Jagua
Collective based in Colombia aiming at developing strategies that converge social art practices and environmental justice.

Municipal Service Project
Research network that explores alternatives to the privatization and commercialization of service provision in electricity, health, water and sanitation in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Inter- and transdisciplinary network for teaching, research and practical action on the politics and management of water and water-based services.

The Situated Urban Political Ecology Collective
Platform for research projects and activities that relate to situated and contested ecologies, in particular when viewed through the processes of urbanisation.

Hydraulic City
Website that explores the politics of Mumbai’s water infrastructure to demonstrate how citizenship emerges through the continuous efforts to control, maintain, and manage the city’s water.

Justicia Hídrica/Water Justice
International alliance, working on research, capacity building and action. Its objective is to contribute to more water justice.

Training program in the field of Political Ecology.

Transnational Institute
International network of activists and scholars committed to critical analyses of the global problems such as poverty and marginalization, social injustice and environmental degradation.

Urban Infrastructures in Transition: The Case of African Cities
Program on urban infrastructures (water, energy, sewerage, transport and telecommunication services) in the East African cities of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya).

ACTUS: Accelerating Transition in Peri-Urban areas in East Africa
Research project that aims to investigate everyday experiences of solid waste and sanitation in peri-urban areas in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

WaterPower. The collision of mega-trends in a West African coastal city
Laboratory for experimenting novel ways of doing research in urban water studies.