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WATER AS COMMODITY FOR TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS Aimee Chang

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In the capitalist market, the ability to operate at all scales within world cycles and networks has been taken advantage of by transnational corporations. Global localization is a neoFordist strategy of downsizing to exploit peripheral economies within the world system. International institutions like the World Health Organization are filtering world territory into archipelagoes of constructed criteria—here, by urban populations with access to safe drinking water. This archipelago is further defined by developing nations and has become a strategic territory for occupation by Nestlé Corporation. Nestlé created a multisite concept to “answer the needs of emergent countries’ people waiting for healthy water” by manufacturing and distributing water locally in those nations. The first 12 sites of production have vastly different infrastructural landscapes, yet the same blueprint factory was dropped in all those locations to produce a bottled water with the exact same mineral composition and taste.

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Capable of global deployment, Pure Life bottled water achieves autonomy at the expense of local homogenization.

1 16th C Mercantilism: functional pattern of pointless flows MARITIME RoUTES MARITIME CITIES HANSEATIC ToWNS

2 20th C Global Capitalization: networked 3 Development Doppler EMAAR NAKHEEl SUNlAND DEvEloPER HEADQUARTERS lINK SECoNDARy PRoPERTIES

4 Access to safe drinking water 5 Urban populations with access to safe drinking water 100% 75 - 99% 50 - 74% 25 - 49% 0 - 24%

6 Transnational corporate territory 7 Nestle pure life territory 4


enza, which then goes back, inundating the plain. The depression, immediately north of the confluence, could play a role in reducing the risk of flooding, but Prà dei Gai is also a vast grass surface along the river around which are located small centers, linear settlements, dispersed industrial activities, agriculture, and old Venetian villas transformed into four-star hotels. Existing dikes and paths are the frontier between this large and almost empty area, today flooded one or two times a year, and the rest of the territory. The hydraulic project will transform this depression in an anti-flooding basin for which it is necessary to separate the basin (the depression) from the river by way of a new dike and a new canal. This means that the Livenza river will split into two parts with different speeds, which can create interesting conditions for new ecosystems. The construction of canals and dikes (a strip about 60 meters long) can reach a ground balance.

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What If? What would happen if the effort to retrofit the natural depressions became the beginning of a contemporary park? What If? What would happen if Prà dei Gai were considered the center of this territory instead of a marginal site?

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The new canal, the new dikes, the bridges and paths, and the humid areas have been the starting point to design the relations between Prà dei Gai and its surrounding territory. Two main hypotheses come in to play: The first accepts the new dikes’ configuration and explores the patterns of interaction between the interior and the exterior of the new flooded area; the second reverses the engineering concept and proposes to use the new dikes to frame the built areas instead of the river and the flooding basin. The water can find new spaces between the built areas protected by new dikes, which can also become places to live and work. A process of phyto-depuration of white and grey water can be integrated along the dikes to solve the lack of a proper sewage system in some parts of the area. Although the second approach enlarges the concern of flooding to a wider territory, it is important to note that both environmental and hydraulic engineers agree about its rationality. From the spatial point of view, the two concepts define alternative configurations of extraordinary interest, in both cases based on the design of border and cross devices that mediate the relation between the living areas and the flooded ones. In both cases the grassland of Prà dei Gai, crossed by the Livenza river

CASE STUDY CU 69

Starting with these scenarios, we can see ideas developing for a space that integrates and reinterprets the engineering transformations.


W4: Water as Commodity for Transnational Corporations