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Urban Political Ecology

An Exploration of Five Cities

Taking a closer look at the urban political ecology of Barcelona, Hong Kong, Dakar, Nairobi and Manila

BarcelonaHong KongDakarNairobiManila

Who To Blame? Water Insecurity in Metro Manila

In 2017, Thames Water made headlines for being fined £20 million for mismanaging sewage water. The company’s opaque financial structure was then exposed (Plimmer & Espinosa 2017). While privatization initially allowed major investments to be made, the service deteriorated rapidly and significantly damaged the environment. In March and June 2019, two water shortages hit Manila for several weeks, highlighting the insufficient quality of the infrastructure. The city is known to have achieved the world’s largest water privatization in 1997, because it faced the need to largely expand its coverage as population grew exponentially (+300% over the past 4 years) (Porio, 2012). The alarming situation of water security in Manila is to be taken as a warning against postpoliticizing the provision of vital services.

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