Replumbing the City: Climate Adaptation Urbanisms in Los Angeles


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Anthropology and Forestry & Environmental Studies


This dissertation uses a case study of the Los Angeles waterscape to examine how efforts to retrofit the metropolitan environment affect the politics and governance of urban space. Concerns about the future dependability of imported water sources have spurred attempts to incorporate local stormwater and wastewater effluent into LA’s municipal water supply. These initiatives require redesigning both obvious sites of city infrastructure and quotidian urban spaces to capture and transform waste flows into potable water. In the process, new actors and landscapes within the city emerge as targets of state investment, discipline, and management. This study explores how residents, environmental activists, and water engineers understand, enact, and resist these spatial projects of resource security.