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Title: Geothermal urbanism : making the elemental explicit in Reykjavík
Author: Shepherd, Matthew Ross
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This research explores the distinct places shaped by human processes and proximity to geothermal heat. It underlines the concept of elementality as critical for understanding energy, the urban, and everyday life. Advancing from the rematerialistion of geography it draws upon approaches to other geo urban phenomena through relational and more-than-human terms. This has emphasised networked, assembled, and processual understandings; through which a distributed agency concerning the human and non-human alike has been utilised to foreground a geologic vitality. With a focus on Reykjavík in Southwest Iceland, attention is turned to the sites of infrastructures, architectures, and human bodies. It examines the distinct materialities of Reykjavík's geothermal urban environ; their relational properties, elemental capacities, and the palpable affective sense of place that arises as the geothermal is articulated through the urban form. It engages a more-than-representational methodology: utilising video, photography, and interviews with Reykjavík's inhabitants. Field materials provide a detailed illustration of the city's emergent geothermal urban lifeworld. As 'surfacing', geothermal urbanism is revealed as a geosociotechnical process. As 'atmospheric', it is experienced as gathered, elementally infused, and palpable. As 'affective', the geothermal urban is understood as embroiled with an embodied geothermal elementality, tracking the processual and the atmospheric. These findings culminate in a necessary revision of the geothermal field from an exclusively chthonic entity; extended beyond the subterranean into the urban, and understood as atmospheric and affective. Additionally, a discrete geothermal form of geopower is identified. This advances a non-carbon geologic agency, intersecting the geological and the affective. Geothermal urbanism is established as requiring a geosociotechnical ontology, an elemental epistemology, and characterised by distinct practices of embodied dwelling.
Supervisor: McCormack, Derek ; Greenhough, Beth Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Human geography ; Architecture ; Renewable energy sources ; City planning ; Power resources ; Geography