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Peace in the Pipelines: Hydro-Social Infrastructure Development in Bosnia’s Urban Borderland

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Joanna Leigh-Bedford
University of Cambridge | UK
On the 25th anniversary of the end of the Bosnian War, this research asks - can water infrastructure development progress long-term peacebuilding efforts in contested territories?

Although water is Bosnia’s most abundant natural resource, less than 65% of the population are connected to public water utilities. As international investment pours into the state water infrastructure sector, Sarajevo’s subterranean water network is used as a lens to investigate tripartisan ethno-national governance, yearning for pre-war normality, social customs of ethnic division and the psychology of dealing with individual and collective trauma. Capitalising on the grid’s horizontal and vertical span across geographical, political, social and cultural spheres, this research investigates what a truly ‘sustainable’ water infrastructure development could contribute to the splintered city of Sarajevo.

In light of the current global health crisis and the growing impacts of climate change, the research empowers the politically underrepresented domestic end users, whose voices often go unheard. The research was informed by seven months of immersive fieldwork conducted in Sarajevo, while collaborating with the NGOs Project 1948 and the Post-Conflict Research Centre.

Joanna Leigh-Bedford

Hanna Baumann
Christopher Hamill
Ingrid Schröder
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