Harbour bathing and the urban transition of water in Copenhagen: junctions, mediators, and urban navigations

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikel

Abstract

n 2002 the first public harbour swimming bath in the inner harbour of Copenhagen opened. By translating the old industrial harbour into a site of urban living and recreation, the practice of swimming in the harbour has been instrumental in aligning and catalysing a series of broader urban transformations pertaining to the wastewater infrastructure, industrial activities, urban development, and international marketing of the city. Through a study of the processes by which swimming in the harbour came into being as a transformative urban practice, we develop a navigational conceptualisation of urban transition processes. Our study suggests that the creation of the first harbour bath was not the end result of an overall master plan. Rather, we demonstrate that the harbour baths were the outcome of a contingent interplay among embedded actors’ myopic and navigational actions over a period of twenty years. In order to conceptualise what provoked these navigational actions and how they translated into transformative urban change, we develop the notions of junctions and transition mediators. We introduce the notion of junctions to understand how navigations are provoked. Junctions are signified by particular sites with identities that have been rendered unstable due to tensions and ambiguities among the established sociomaterial assemblages by which they are configured. We argue that navigations signify sociomaterial repair work aimed at addressing such junctions. To conceptualise how such navigations might translate into coordinated urban transformations, we introduce the notion of transition mediators. A transition mediator is an artefact—such as the harbour baths—that succeeds in generating transformative change by displacing the boundaries and interdependencies within and among the established sociomaterial assemblages of the urban fabric.
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Detaljer

n 2002 the first public harbour swimming bath in the inner harbour of Copenhagen opened. By translating the old industrial harbour into a site of urban living and recreation, the practice of swimming in the harbour has been instrumental in aligning and catalysing a series of broader urban transformations pertaining to the wastewater infrastructure, industrial activities, urban development, and international marketing of the city. Through a study of the processes by which swimming in the harbour came into being as a transformative urban practice, we develop a navigational conceptualisation of urban transition processes. Our study suggests that the creation of the first harbour bath was not the end result of an overall master plan. Rather, we demonstrate that the harbour baths were the outcome of a contingent interplay among embedded actors’ myopic and navigational actions over a period of twenty years. In order to conceptualise what provoked these navigational actions and how they translated into transformative urban change, we develop the notions of junctions and transition mediators. We introduce the notion of junctions to understand how navigations are provoked. Junctions are signified by particular sites with identities that have been rendered unstable due to tensions and ambiguities among the established sociomaterial assemblages by which they are configured. We argue that navigations signify sociomaterial repair work aimed at addressing such junctions. To conceptualise how such navigations might translate into coordinated urban transformations, we introduce the notion of transition mediators. A transition mediator is an artefact—such as the harbour baths—that succeeds in generating transformative change by displacing the boundaries and interdependencies within and among the established sociomaterial assemblages of the urban fabric.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEnvironment and Planning A
Volume/Bind47
Tidsskriftsnummer3
Sider (fra-til)554 – 570
ISSN0308-518X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2015
PublikationsartForskning
Peer reviewJa
ID: 209608099