Infrastructure and Logistics

Blue lines and blues infrastructures: Notes on water, race, and space

In Detroit, Michigan, the urban poor fear they are being displaced and replaced by water. As part of the city’s recent redevelopment efforts, planners have proposed creating green and blue infrastructure zones to manage urban flooding and mitigate the volume of overflow storm and sewer waters that pollute the Great Lakes each year. The areas slated for these water retention zones are the same marginal neighborhoods where Black residents face frequent foreclosures due to water debts and mass shutoffs from water and sewer services. This paper explores how water materializes and mediates uneven landscapes of livability, as well as new modes of living in common among those excluded from the urban commons. I introduce the concepts of “bluelining” and “blues infrastructures” in order to think through the contested assemblages of water, race, and space at the margins of urban life.

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Volume 39 Issue 6

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