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Territory and Technology: a case study and strategy from the California Delta

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The Plan Journal, Volume 2

Author: Neeraj Bhatia & Richard L. Hindle

Date: 2017


“The notion of the resilient edge is perhaps most emblematic in deltaic landscapes, which are a landscape form par excellence of edge conditions – both for their fluctuating natural boundaries and complicated relationship with anthropogenic forces. Given this juxtaposition, it is worthwhile to revisit the early history of deltaic transformation and urbanization — from surfaces to edges — to gain insights into the future resilience of these landscapes and strategies for their redesign. In this essay, we investigate the early history of the California Delta, starting with the Swamp Lands Act of 1850, to gain insights into how policy and technology territorialized this vast inland estuary. We then reformulate this history as a contemporary strategy for the design of deltaic landscapes and introduce a pedagogical experiment to test our observations.”

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