Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster

Future Infrastructures: Water, Energy, Justice

This homepage highlights some of the current research that the Future Infrastructures Cluster at the Orfalea Center is helping to facilitate with global partners; this homepage also provides introductory resources for educators, students, and the general public interested in learning more about future infrastructures and their challenges. 

Cluster Statement: This cluster will develop new critical and creative research practices in the social and environmental impacts of water infrastructure (such as sanitation services, container shipping, hydroelectric dams, and “green infrastructure” that uses plants to mitigate stormwater, or other waterways), and energy infrastructure (such as oil/gas extraction sites, mineral mining, pipelines, solar grids, nuclear energy, etc.). We will pursue these questions by organizing our collaboration around three distinct yet interconnected themes: (1) the scales of largely invisible water and energy systems and substances, from cells to oceans and cities; (2) the mediations of infrastructure, negotiating elements, multispecies life forms, technology, and culture; and (3) the participation of impacted communities and citizens in the deliberations on and implementation of decisions about water and energy infrastructure.

Akosombo Dam, Ghana. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Summary of Research Resources

  • Research Fellows Stephen N. Borunda (PhD student, Film and Media Studies) and Surojit Kayal (PhD student, English) were selected as grant recipients  to design and co-teach their course “Deserts, Islands, and Other Energy Infrastructures” at UCSB’s College of Creative Studies. Congratulations, Stephen and Surojit! More information on this course is coming soon!

Accordion Content