Maria Kaika

The University of Manchester, Manchester, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (15)8.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Despite the seeming accumulation of natural and manmade disasters over the last decade, and increasing urban intensification across the world, there seems to be little or no actual progress in solving urban ecological problems. In exploring a way forward, Maria Kaika and Erik Swyngedouw highlight three potential approaches to urban socio‐ecological research and how these might provide a conduit for re‐politicising urban nature.
    Architectural Design 01/2012; 82(4).
  • Erik Swyngedouw, Maria Kaika
    04/2008: pages 567 - 580; , ISBN: 9780470693414
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    Federico Caprotti, Maria Kaïka
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    ABSTRACT: Using previously unpublished material from the LUCE archive and the State Archives in Rome, this article examines how film-making became part and parcel of the process of 'taming' nature in the Pontine Marshes under Mussolini's regime. Fascist authorities perceived the undisciplined and unproductive nature of the 'death inducing swamps' as something that had to be extinguished from the face of Italy, to make way for an ideal fascist nature that would nurture ideal fascist subjects. We argue that the success of transforming the swamps owed as much to the extensive investment of labour power, capital, and technology, as it did to the careful staging of every step of the project through cinematographic representations. Although planning and land reclamation institutions were responsible for the material production of the reclaimed land, the LUCE institute was instrumental in actively turning this new land into the ideal fascist landscape. In so doing, the paper offers a new reading on landscape and nationalism explored through an analysis of the production of landscape in Italy under Mussolini.
    01/2008;
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    Maria Kaika
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    ABSTRACT: The article offers an analysis of the iconography and symbolism of dam constructions at three levels: first, as embodiments of the dialectics between geographical imaginations and material practices in the process of modernization; second, as symbols of modernity's quest to conquer and urbanize nature; and third, as the catalysts for reconfiguring the relationship between nature and the city. The article grounds its analysis on the study of the Marathon dam, the first dam project for watering Athens, constructed in the 1920s. Being the biggest dam construction at the time in the Balkans, it became an iconic marker of Athens's modernization and of Greece's modernist project for controlling and taming nature. It also signaled a new era of trade relations between the United States and Greece by introducing American capital and work practices into Greece. However, this decidedly modern project was wrought with heavy neoclassical ornamentation and symbolism, and was veneered with the same marble as that used for the Parthenon. The article interprets this as an effort to reconcile iconographically the two prevailing geographical imaginations that infused the modernizing desires of Athens: modernizing the city through connecting it to the West and modernizing it through reconnecting it to its classical past. In the analysis, the article draws on original material from the archives of the National Library of Greece in Athens.
    Annals of the Association of American Geographers 05/2006; 96(2):276 - 301. · 2.17 Impact Factor
  • Maria Kaika, Korinna Thielen
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, Maria Kaika and Korinna Thielen chart the historical development of ‘the secular shrine'—an assertion of state and corporate power that came to dominate the urban landscape from the second half of the nineteenth century. Many of the aesthetic features of this secular monumentalism can be identified in earlier sacred and classical architecture and served to legitimate its adaptation for secular purposes. With the exception of industrial architecture, it was only in the latter half of the twentieth century that the secular shrine as unadorned modernism finally emerged. The perceived failure of modernism to create liveable communities prompted a shift in emphasis towards a ‘picture postcard' view of the city in which ‘signature buildings' stand as new forbidden temples. Kaika and Thielen conclude that both the sacred and the profane continue to use the built form as an iconography of their respective wills to power.
    City 01/2006; 10(1):59-69.
  • Maria Kaika
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    ABSTRACT: This article studies the western bourgeois home, and argues that its social construction as a familiar, autonomous, safe, private haven is predicated not only upon the exclusion of undesired social elements (anomie, homelessness, social conflict, etc.) but also upon the exclusion of undesired natural elements (cold, dirt, pollution, sewage, etc.). Using the domestication of water in the western world as a vehicle, the article analyses the historical-geographical process through which nature became scripted as ‘the other’ to the bourgeois home, and explains the contribution of this separation to the conceptual construction of the home as a distinct and autonomous ‘space envelope’, supposedly untouched by socio-natural processes. This analysis identifies an inherent contradiction: despite the intense efforts at ‘othering’ and excluding nature from the premises of the home, the function and familiarity of this space is increasingly dependent upon the production of nature. Although the complex set of socio-natural networks, pipes and cables that carry clean, produced, commodified nature inside and pump bad, metabolized nature outside the bourgeois home remain visually excluded, it is this same excluded socio-nature that constitutes the material basis upon which the familiarity of the home is constructed. Thus, in a simultaneous act of need and denial, the bourgeois home remains the host of the elements that it tries to exclude. This contradiction surfaces at moments of crisis (such as power cuts, burst mains and water shortage) when familiar objects acquire uncanny properties. At such moments, the continuity of the social and material processes that produce the domestic space is unexpectedly foregrounded, bringing the dweller face to face with his/her alienation, within his/her most familiar environment.Cet article montre comment la construction sociale de la maison bourgeoise occidentale, en tant que refuge privé, sécurisé, autonome et familier, s'appuie sur l'exclusion d'éléments indésirables, tant sociaux (anomie, sans-abri, lutte sociale, etc.) que naturels (froid, saleté, pollution, effluents, etc.). Comme véhicule, ce travail utilise la domestication de l'eau dans le monde occidental, et analyse le processus historico-géographique par lequel la nature est devenue ‘l'autre’ pour la maison bourgeoise, tout en expliquant l'apport de cette séparation dans l'élaboration conceptuelle de la maison comme ‘enveloppe spatiale’ distincte et autonome, censée être préservée des processus sociaux-naturels. Ainsi apparaît une contradiction intrinsèque: malgré d'intenses efforts visant à‘l'altérité’ et l'exclusion de la nature dans le principe, la fonction et la familiarité de la maison dépendent de plus en plus de la production de nature. L'ensemble complexe de réseaux sociaux-naturels, tuyaux et câbles qui amènent une nature nettoyée, fabriquée, banalisée à l'intérieur et expulsent la nature mauvaise, métabolisée à l'extérieur de la maison bourgeoise, restent éliminés visuellement. Pourtant, c'est cette même socio-nature exclue qui constitue la base matérielle sur laquelle se construit l'intimité de cet espace. Donc, dans un acte simultané de besoin et rejet, la maison bourgeoise continue d'héberger les éléments qu'elle essaie d'exclure. Cette contradiction émerge lors des crises (coupures de courant, explosion de canalisations et pénuries d'eau, par exemple) quand les objets familiers revêtent des qualités surnaturelles. Alors, la continuité des processus sociaux et matériels qui génèrent l'espace domestique est subitement mise en lumière, l'occupant se trouvant confrontéà son aliénation, au sein de son environnement le plus intime.
    International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 02/2004; 28(2):265-286. · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    Ben Page, Maria Kaika
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    ABSTRACT: This paper is an analysis of the policy innovations of the European Union's Water Framework Directive and their relationship to a range of economic and geographical interests. It follows a previous paper describing the process of the making of the WFD in relation to the new EU co-decision process. This paper argues that the innovative aspects of the policy reflect a context in which the broader governance arrangements for water management in Europe are shifting in dramatic ways. The paper identifies the aspects of the WFD that are innovative by comparing it with previous European directives related to water management legislation. The paper then describes the state of Europe's freshwater resources as a basis for understanding the regional geography of interests in the policy-making process and examines the contrasting interests of state, market and civil society institutions and their impact on the final draft. The paper ends by bringing the history of the WFD up to date by looking at the initial responses of the key actors to the final WFD and at recent developments in relation to implementation. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
    European Environment 10/2003; 13(6):328 - 343.
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    Maria Kaika, Ben Page
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    ABSTRACT: This paper is a history of the making of the European Union's Water Framework Directive (WFD). It will be followed by a second paper, which analyses the relationship between the innovations of the WFD and a range of different interest groups. This directive is of particular interest to commentators on EU policy-making because it was created through the co-decision process, in which the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament have joint influence over the final text. Following substantive differences in position between the two bodies the WFD was finalized through a conciliation process in June 2000. This change in the practice of European decision-making has allowed non-governmental organizations new opportunities to participate in water policy-making and to have a greater influence on EU directives. It is argued that the environmental lobby has adapted swiftly to these changes and used them to considerable advantage in pursuit of its own goals. The passage of the legislation between 1998 and 2000 is described, paying careful attention to who participated in the process of amending the draft directive and what major amendments were made. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
    European Environment 10/2003; 13(6):314 - 327.
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    Maria Kaika
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the drought that hit Athens between 1989 and 1991 and analyses the role of this natural phenomenon as the “ferment” for ongoing political-economic transformations in the direction of liberalisation and privatisation of water management and allocation in Greece. The paper analyses how the drought was marshalled as an effective discursive vehicle to facilitate and expedite the state-led neoliberal political-economic agenda. It shows how the social consensus around a number of “emergency measures” that the state adopted to deal with a “natural” crisis was grounded in a particular discourse on water and in the political-economic “positioning” of “nature” as a source of crisis. In turn, this change in the “discursive” production of nature fused with the rhetoric and practice of market-led development and privatisation and, ultimately, facilitated important transformations in the social and political-economic (material) production of nature.
    Antipode 10/2003; 35(5):919 - 954. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    Erik Swyngedouw, Maria Kaïka
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    ABSTRACT: Swyngedouw and Kaïka explore some of the classic tensions and preoccupations of urban planners and theorists: emancipation/disengagement, global/local, social justice/neoliberalism. In particular, the authors refer us to the effects of the 'drastic re-assertion of the forces of modernity in the contemporary city. They raise the question' can we still build an enabling and empowering urbanisation process?'. To answer the question they tell various stories of how local-global elites are undermining cultures of everyday life creating a city of the spectacular commodity. They go further to paint a picture of the city as a 'staged archaeological theme park' (p.11). In answer, they suggest that a utopian and localist politics of difference is still possible. Moreover, much can be redeemed from the maelstrom of modernity. They invite us to dwell in the utopian visions of different, more just forms of urbanity emerging from the 'third space' of the margins.
    City 04/2003; 7(1):5-21.
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    ABSTRACT: This article provides a synthetic account of the historical development of London's water supply system within its wider national context, and addresses the current organizational setting of the water sector. Particular attention is paid to the post-Second World War period, which marked a transition towards integrated water management in England and Wales, a trend that has been consolidated since the 1970s. The article emphasizes the continuities and contradictions arising from the different combinations of public and private management strategies characterizing the UK water sector, and their implications for the sustainable management of water resources. It argues that there exists an in-built contradiction in the current institutional framework between the profit-oriented rationale of the private operators and the goals of efficiency, equity, and environmental sustainability pursued by the water regulators. Within this framework, it highlights the key policy issues facing the metropolitan water systems, and suggests what their most likely trajectories might be in the foreseeable future.
    European Planning Studies 04/2003; 11(3):283-298. · 0.68 Impact Factor
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    Maria Kaika
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the intricate process of developing the European Union's Water Frame-work Directive. It sees the Directive as a response to recent economic, political and social changes related to water management, including the shift from government to governance, the liberalization of water markets and the emergence of a new set of institutions, actors, etc. and their respective relations (i.e. social capital). The article focuses on the key points of disagreement between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament that threatened to prevent the Directive from being materialized and interprets this controversy as the culmination of conflicting interests between different actors at the local, national and European levels. Finally, it asserts the increasingly important role of the nation state in the decision-making and implementation of the Directive and sets this against recent arguments about the death of the State.
    European Planning Studies 01/2003; 11. · 0.68 Impact Factor
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    Maria Kaika, Erik Swyngedouw
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    ABSTRACT: Technological networks (water, gas, electricity, information etc.) are constitutive parts of the urban. They are the mediators through which the perpetual process of transformation of nature into city takes place. In this article, we take water and water networks as an emblematic example to excavate the shifting meanings of urban technological networks during modernity. Indeed, as water becomes commodified and fetishized, nature itself becomes re-invented in its urban form (aesthetic, moral, cultural codings of hygiene, purity, cleanliness etc.) and severed from the grey, ‘muddy’, kaleidoscopic meanings and uses of water as a mere use-value. Burying the flow of water via subterranean and often distant pinpointed technological mediations (dams, purification plants, pumping stations) facilitates and contributes to masking the social relations through which the metabolic urbanization of water takes place. The veiled subterranean networking of water facilitates the severing of the intimate bond between use value, exchange value and social power. We argue that during early modernity, technologies themselves became enshrined as the sources of all the wonders of the city’s water. Dams, water towers, sewage systems and the like were celebrated as glorious icons, carefully designed, ornamented and prominently located in the city, celebrating the modern promise of progress. During twentieth-century high-modernity, the symbolic and material shrines of progress started to lose their mobilizing powers and began to disappear from the cityscape. Water towers, dams and plants became mere engineering constructs, often abandoned and dilapidated, while the water flows disappeared underground and in-house. They also disappeared from the urban imagination. Urban networks became ‘urban fetishes’ during early modernity, ‘compulsively’ admired and marvelled at, materially and culturally supporting and enacting an ideology of progress. The subsequent failure of this ‘ideology of progress’ is paralleled by their underground disappearance during high-modernity, while the abandonment of their ‘urban dowry’ announced a recasting of modernity in new ways. We conclude that the dystopian underbelly of the city that at times springs up in the form of accumulated waste, dirty water, pollution, or social disintegration, produces a sharp contrast when set against the increasingly managed clarity of the urban environment. These contradictions are becoming difficult to be contained or displaced.Les grands réseaux techniques (eau, gaz, electricité, information etc.) font partie intégrale de l’urbain. Ce sont les médiateurs du processus continuel de la transformation de la nature urbaine. Dans cet article, nous prenons comme exemple emblématique l’eau et les réseaux d’eau afin d’explorer les significations changeantes des réseaux de technologie urbaine durant la période moderne. Alors que l’eau devient une marchandise fétichisée, la nature elle-même est reinventée dans ses formes urbaines (esthétique, morale, codes culturels d’hygiène, purité, propreté etc.) et coupée des significations grises, ‘ternes’, kaléidoscopiques, et des utilisations de l’eau comme une simple valeur utilitaire. L’ensevelissement de l’eau par les médiations technologiques spécifiques souterraines et souvent distantes (barrages, usines de purification, stations de pompage) aide et contribue à masquer les relations sociales à travers lesquelles prend place l’urbanisation métabolique de l’eau. Les réseaux d’eau souterrains voilés facilitent la coupure du lien intime entre la valeur utilitaire, la valeur d’échange, et le pouvoir social. Nous soutenons que durant la première période de modernité les technologies elles-mêmes devinrent inscrites comme sources de toutes les merveilles de l’eau de la ville. Les barrages, les réserves d’eau, les égoûts et d’autres éléments similaires étaient célébrés comme des icônes glorieux, conçus avec soin, ornés, et situés de façon prominente dans la ville, célébrant les promesses modernes de progrès. Durant la période de haute-modernité du vingtième siècle, les lieux de pélerinage matériels et symboliques célébrant le progrès ont commencéà perdre leur pouvoir de mobilisation et à dispara?‘tre du paysage de la ville. Les réservoirs d’eau, les barrages et les installations industrielles devinrent simplement des constructions d’ingénieurs, souvent abandonnées et délabrées, alors que les courants d’eau disparurent sous terre et à l’intérieur. Tous s’effacèrent aussi de l’imagination urbaine. Les réseaux urbains devinrent des ‘fétiches urbains’ durant la première période de modernité, causant un émerveillement et une admiration ‘obligatoires’, culturellement et matériellement représentant et soutenant une idéologie de progrès. L’échec ultérieur de cette ‘idéologie de progrès’ a son parallèle dans leur disparition sous terre durant la période de haute modernité, alors que l’abandon de leur ‘dot urbaine’ annonçait un remaniement de la modernité dans des directions nouvelles. Nous concluons que le bas-ventre dystopique de la ville qui surgit de temps à autre sous la forme d’accumulation de déchets, d’eau sale, de pollution, ou de désintégration sociale, produit un contraste marqué avec la clarté de plus en plus organisée de l’environnement urbain. Ces contradictions deviennent difficiles à contenir ou à supplanter.
    International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 12/2002; 24(1):120 - 138. · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper explores a political-ecological perspective on the relationship between urbanization, sustainability, and the production and distribution of urban water. The focus is on the interrelationship between social, economic, political, and environmental processes as they are expressed in the way urban water systems are organized. The first part summarizes the main components of a political-ecological perspective, with particular reference to questions of urban socio-environmental sustainability. In the second part, the critical moments with respect to the contemporary organization, management, and dynamics of the urban water cycle are explored, with particular reference to the findings of five case studies. The final part will tease out some conclusions with respect to urban sustainability.
    Built Environment 01/2002; 28(2):124-137.
  • Erik Swyngedouw, Maria Kaika