Aquatic Urbanisms: Water as Planning and Territorial Instrument Considering The 9 Dash Line Policy

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Gerhard Bruyns
Peter Hasdell


The notion of territoriality, territory and terrain are all derivatives of ‘terra’ or ‘earth.’ As discourse, ‘territory’ has remained largely land centred for its terminologies, means of representation or in its application within urbanization. Water, conversely, is often considered as a resource or as a specific morphological characteristic but rarely as a key object of discourse. China’s claim within the South China Sea and the subsequent creation of newly formed ‘island outposts’, has brought to light the political welding that water holds, as both territorial claim and negotiating instrument. Particularly significant in the context of increasing pressures on development in this urban age.

This paper examines how the substitution of ‘terra derived’ concepts with that of ‘hydro’ driven concepts, impact the domains of territoriality in planning and urbanism. Focus is placed on speculative projections of design work that highlights one possible method of reconfiguring the territoriality of the South China Sea. Consequentially this work questions the assumptions and spatial ideologies in the ‘nine-dash line’ policy.


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BruynsG., & HasdellP. (2017). Aquatic Urbanisms: Water as Planning and Territorial Instrument Considering The 9 Dash Line Policy. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 2(3), 273-284.


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