All cities have been and are locked into this continuous web of relationships with water’s simultaneous universalism and particularism. The history and current development of cities is therefore written in water and in the most varied ways and manners. In spite of this, Tvedt has shown and argued that mainstream urban studies have persistently tended to neglect the water issue and the interactions between urban development and water and how these in fundamental ways have impacted on the whole process of urbanisation.
Jericho, the oldest urban settlement in the world, located around the spring ‘Ain es-Sultan’
Aqua Virgo, aqueducts and water supply in Rome, Italy
The Mekong River and the water civilization Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The irony of the water tragedy in Mexico City
Climate change effecting the water engineering of the Netherlands
The faith of Venice in Italy – drowning or flooded?
The hydrological trap squeezing Bangladesh
Transforming the desert to booming economies in USA
Gambling with water and the future in Las Vegas
While all cities need to solve the water issue, they have to do so in different ways, since the urban dwellers’ interactions with, and their patterns of activity in relation to, their water will reflect the local water cycles’ particular characteristics and the past interactions of water and city. The water-society system approach captures how human-modified water systems in their turn change the physical water system in an everlasting process of mutual interaction. It takes as a starting point the fact that no urban water landscape is either completely natural or completely controlled or socialised, because urban development presupposes on the one hand modification of the natural waterscape, but is on the other hand not able to destroy water as nature although the actual water source may be depleted or polluted. Efforts to control water and the built water environment it creates must be analysed not only as a reflection of ‘culture’, but also as being impacted by the physical character of the waterscape. The actual flow of water in cities must therefore be analysed as being located within both a particular physical context and a particular set of traditions related to water, which in its turn is located of course within broader political relations and social rhythms (See Tvedt 2016 and “History of Water”, Series III, vol. I).