As an examination of the energy spatial project deployed along the most engineered hydro basin in Europe, the Piave River, this work explores the interplay of modernity and environmental transformation in the Italian north-east hydroelectric landscapes of the Veneto region. Focusing on the territorial, urban and social implications of the politics of exploitation of water, it explores the rationalities through which water is abstracted, appropriated, accumulated and used across the region. It seeks an understanding of the centrality of water management, hydro-politics and engineering in the Italian process of modernization and development, exploring their capacity to transform the territory. The research explores the role of water apparatus within the urbanisation processes, and how its embedded dynamics of production —would they be energetic, of agriculture or redistribution— are reciprocally entangled, and consequentially dependent upon, the ecologies of specific spaces, often seemingly disconnected or remote. To do so, it unpacks the stratification of nineteenth century projects which re-structured territories of northern Italy through water flows, incrementally constructing a paradoxical interdependent machinic landscape. Deconstructing systems of capital production sedimented across the modern aspiration of the Fascist regime to cultivate and construct an idealistic idea of productive nature, the thesis aims at dissecting techno-natures legacy across the basin to declare the multiplicity of processes of rationalization of the territory and the interplay of socio-environmental conflicts with dams’ economy of power. By bringing upfront the socio-ecological rationalities of the Piave consequential landscape the thesis uncovers fragmented understandings of the basin which prevent an encompassing understanding of the machine ability in forging the territorial palimpsest. In doing so, transcending binaries of society/nature and urban/rural environments, the thesis builds on interdisciplinary insights from the fields of urbanism, geography, environmental history and political ecology, to frame water infrastructure as a fundamental territorial support. Raising a series of questions stemming from the materiality of water and its political implications in the frame of the current climate regime, the research attempts to understand and question the social, political, institutional and ecological dynamics that the machine in the mountain entails across the territory. As a result, the research uncovers praxes which reveal the anatomy of the Piave basin by challenging modes of representation. While diverse forms of powers constitute the current conjuncture, it argues for an analysis which is constitutive of cities and their more-than-urban geographies, in order to address both the specificity of conflicts at the local scale and the larger web of political, economic and environmental processes in the broader one. By shifting urbanism focus into large ‘operationalised landscapes’, through the lens of landscape as a ‘way of seeing’, working and reconstituting knowledge, this work aims at empowering territorial research as a design tool. In the midst of the ongoing multiplicity of crises, the thesis argues for a widening need to describe the machinic territory as a way through which define future coexisting strategies to inhabit the territory.

The Machine in the Mountain. Territories of hydro power in the Piave basin / Longhin, Elena. - (2021 Mar 29). [10.25432/longhin-elena_phd2021-03-29]

The Machine in the Mountain. Territories of hydro power in the Piave basin

LONGHIN, ELENA
2021

Abstract

As an examination of the energy spatial project deployed along the most engineered hydro basin in Europe, the Piave River, this work explores the interplay of modernity and environmental transformation in the Italian north-east hydroelectric landscapes of the Veneto region. Focusing on the territorial, urban and social implications of the politics of exploitation of water, it explores the rationalities through which water is abstracted, appropriated, accumulated and used across the region. It seeks an understanding of the centrality of water management, hydro-politics and engineering in the Italian process of modernization and development, exploring their capacity to transform the territory. The research explores the role of water apparatus within the urbanisation processes, and how its embedded dynamics of production —would they be energetic, of agriculture or redistribution— are reciprocally entangled, and consequentially dependent upon, the ecologies of specific spaces, often seemingly disconnected or remote. To do so, it unpacks the stratification of nineteenth century projects which re-structured territories of northern Italy through water flows, incrementally constructing a paradoxical interdependent machinic landscape. Deconstructing systems of capital production sedimented across the modern aspiration of the Fascist regime to cultivate and construct an idealistic idea of productive nature, the thesis aims at dissecting techno-natures legacy across the basin to declare the multiplicity of processes of rationalization of the territory and the interplay of socio-environmental conflicts with dams’ economy of power. By bringing upfront the socio-ecological rationalities of the Piave consequential landscape the thesis uncovers fragmented understandings of the basin which prevent an encompassing understanding of the machine ability in forging the territorial palimpsest. In doing so, transcending binaries of society/nature and urban/rural environments, the thesis builds on interdisciplinary insights from the fields of urbanism, geography, environmental history and political ecology, to frame water infrastructure as a fundamental territorial support. Raising a series of questions stemming from the materiality of water and its political implications in the frame of the current climate regime, the research attempts to understand and question the social, political, institutional and ecological dynamics that the machine in the mountain entails across the territory. As a result, the research uncovers praxes which reveal the anatomy of the Piave basin by challenging modes of representation. While diverse forms of powers constitute the current conjuncture, it argues for an analysis which is constitutive of cities and their more-than-urban geographies, in order to address both the specificity of conflicts at the local scale and the larger web of political, economic and environmental processes in the broader one. By shifting urbanism focus into large ‘operationalised landscapes’, through the lens of landscape as a ‘way of seeing’, working and reconstituting knowledge, this work aims at empowering territorial research as a design tool. In the midst of the ongoing multiplicity of crises, the thesis argues for a widening need to describe the machinic territory as a way through which define future coexisting strategies to inhabit the territory.
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The Machine in the Mountain. Territories of hydro power in the Piave basin / Longhin, Elena. - (2021 Mar 29). [10.25432/longhin-elena_phd2021-03-29]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11578/300557
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