Singapore climate change adaptation planning for water infrastructure is assessed against the concept of “vital security systems.” Cast against the historicity of water planning and postcolonial urbanism, water supply, coastal protection, and flood control are understood in terms of vigilance, emergency, prediction, and control. It is argued that climate adaptation planning relies on a naturalistic understanding of predictable, linear transformations in base climatic variables and thus fails to take into consideration the “pluripotency” of climate futures—that is, the inherent unpredictability of nonlinear transformations that arise in the conjunction of human and nonhuman systems.
Modernist Infrastructure and the Vital Systems Security of Water: Singapore’s Pluripotent Climate Futures
Jerome Whitington is an anthropologist whose research focuses on anthropogenic climate change and its constitutive uncertainties as a generative impulse for emerging sociocultural practices. His recent works include “Carbon as a Metric of the Human” (Political and Legal Anthropology Review, forthcoming); “The Terrestrial Envelope: Fourier’s Geological Speculation” (in A Cultural History of Climate Change, edited by Tom Bristow and Thomas H. Ford, forthcoming); and “Fingerprint, Bellwether, Model Event: Climate Change as Speculative Anthropology” (Anthropological Theory, 2013). He is based at the National University of Singapore.
Jerome Whitington; Modernist Infrastructure and the Vital Systems Security of Water: Singapore’s Pluripotent Climate Futures. Public Culture 1 May 2016; 28 (2 (79)): 415–441. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-3427511
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