Accepted paper:

Regeneration and the power of flows: walking small urban rivers in Scotland

Authors:

Jo Vergunst (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses regeneration in relation to the distinctive ecologies of small urban rivers in Scotland. It presents a project involving anthropology, environmental science and poetry, and looks at the opportunities such rivers offer for new urban forms and experiences in the future.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses regeneration in relation to the distinctive ecologies of small urban rivers in Scotland. Once a key part of industrial and pre-industrial economies through powering the mills that stood on their banks, they now offer a home for wildlife and an alternative urban geography to the formal grid patterns of streets. We present a small-scale and open-ended project involving anthropology, environmental science and poetry, centred on a series of collaborative walks along rivers in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. People we meet along the way often appreciate the opportunities for close-up contact with nature and the counterbalance to the rest of the urban environment that they provide. We also gain insight into the politics of land ownership and urban regeneration, and how cities at the same time rely on and struggle against the flows of water through them. Conceptually, we triangulate the phenomenal presence of these rivers with possibilities for new sustainable urban drainage systems and an exploration of their continuing value for cultural heritage. 'Regeneration' in this case speaks to the personal, the political and the ecological as the heritage of generating hydro-power intersects with opportunities for new urban forms and experiences in the future.

panel P02
Regeneration