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Urban Rivers examines urban interventions on rivers through politics, economics, sanitation systems, technology, and societies; how rivers affected urbanization spatially, in infrastructure, territorial disputes, and in floodplains, and via their changing ecologies. Providing case studies from Vienna to Manitoba, the chapters assemble geographers and historians in a comparative survey of how cities and rivers interacted from the seventeenth century to the present.
Rising cities and industries were great agents of social and ecological changes, particularly during the nineteenth century, when mass populations and their effluents were introduced to river environments. Accumulated pollution and disease mandated the transfer of wastes away from population centers. In many cases, potable water for cities now had to be drawn from distant sites. These developments required significant infrastructural improvements, creating social conflicts over land jurisdiction and affecting the lives and livelihood of nonurban populations. The effective reach of cities extended and urban space was remade. By the mid-twentieth century, new technologies and specialists emerged to combat the effects of industrialization. Gradually, the health of urban rivers improved.
From protoindustrial fisheries, mills, and transportation networks, through industrial hydroelectric plants and sewage systems, to postindustrial reclamation and recreational use, Urban Rivers documents how Western societies dealt with the needs of mass populations while maintaining the viability of their natural resources. The lessons drawn from this study will be particularly relevant to today's emerging urban economies situated along rivers and waterways.
About the Author
Stéphane Castonguay is Canada Research Chair in Environmental History at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and coeditor of Metropolitan Natures: Environmental Histories of Montreal.
Matthew Evenden is an associate professor in the department of geography and chair of Canadian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Fish versus Power: An Environmental History of the Fraser River and coauthor of The River Returns: An Environmental History of the Bow.
Table of Contents
Introduction Stéphane Castonguay Matthew Evenden 1
Part I Industrialization and Riverine Transformations
Chapter 1 Brussels and Its Rivers, 1770-1880: Reshaping an Urban Landscape Chloé Deligne 17
Chapter 2 The River Lea in West Ham: A River's Role in Shaping Industrialization on the Eastern Edge of Nineteenth-Century London Jim Clifford 34
Chapter 3 An Urban Industrial River: The Multiple Uses of the Akerselva River, 1850-1900 Eyvind Bagle 57
Chapter 4 The Rivière des Prairies: More than Montreal's Backyard? Michèle Dagenais 75
Part II Urbanization and the Functions of Rivers
Chapter 5 The Seine and Parisian Metabolism: Growth of Capital Dependencies in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Sabine Barles 95
Chapter 6 The Channelization of the Danube and Urban Spatial Development in Vienna in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries Gertrud Haidvogl 113
Chapter 7 Rivers and Bask in the City: The Urban Floodplain as a Contested Space Uwe Lübken 130
Chapter 8 The St. Lawrence and Montreal's Spatial Development in the Seventeenth through the Twentieth Century Jean-Claude Robert 145
Chapter 9 Urbanization, Industrialization, and the Firth of Forth T. C. Smout 160
Part III Territorialities of Water Management
Chapter 10 Diverting Rivers for Paris, 1760-1820: Needs, Quality, Resistance Frédéric Grabber 183
Chapter 11 Fluid Geographies: Urbanizing River Basins Craig E. Colten 201
Chapter 12 To Harmonize Human Activity with the Laws of Nature: Applying the "Watershed Concept in Manitoba, Canada Shannon Stunden Bower 210
Conclusion Stéphane Castonguay Matthew Evenden 237