Listen Deep to Subterranean Kinfrastructures
Keywords:infrastructure, waterscapes, Sydney, deep listening, kin
This letter – addressed to the people of Sydney – contains an invitation. As a collection of reflections and thoughts it relates to four core ideas. (1) Urban undergrounds like tunnels, drains, and caverns, are vibrant and nourishing places. They are ecosystems and they are habitats. Undergrounds also present generous opportunities to consider parts of their city that are often made out-of-bounds. The cultural richness of the subterranean city can evoke a profound kind of connection for a city’s people. (2) I affirm that people can connect more meaningfully to a city by engaging in processes of listening to their city. More specifically, I refer to the practice of ‘deep listening’ to undergrounds. (3) Enacting this sonic connection can be mediated by planning that responds to the ‘cry for the right to the city’. (4) The infrastructures that thread into and amongst undergrounds often provide opportunities for nonhuman life to thrive and is so doing necessitate responsibility for humans to care for these infrastructures as kin especially when they are damaged by pollution or degradation. Water flows underneath cities. It flows through gutters into drains, pipes, and canals. It flows, often unseen, and even more often with voices unheard. This letter prompts stillness and reflection of these voices.
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