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Assembling the flood: producing spaces of bad water in the city of Hull

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2011
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Number of pages17
Original languageEnglish


In this paper we approach flooding as a socio-natural-technical assemblage, a phenomenon that comes into being in relation to the spaces that ‘bad water’ occupies. We use the case of the major flood in the city of Hull (UK) in June 2007, and the accounts of those who experienced it, to follow the water of the flood into homes and household spaces. We find that the spatial and temporal occurrence of the flood is not simply known and definable, but instead emergent in specific local contexts. We show how the assemblage of the flood can be understood at different resolutions, moving from the flood as a City event; to the street level processes and interventions which shaped how water flowed locally; and into the detail and materiality of the home, its transgression by water and the process of the home becoming a flooded space. Through the analysis of data from two parallel projects examining the experiences of adults and children after the June 2007 event, we show that the boundaries of the flood remained open and contested, their spatial and temporal definition fuzzy and socially complex. Implications are explored in relation to the processes embroiled in producing flood status and the consequences for the actors involved. Wider conclusions for understanding the experience of disaster are also drawn.

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