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SOCIAL CONFLICT AND WATER ACCESS IN MEXICO CITY'S URBAN WATER NETWORK

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Protest has been both a practice of citizenship rights as well as a means of social pressure for change in the context of Mexico City's water system. This paper explores

Protest has been both a practice of citizenship rights as well as a means of social pressure for change in the context of Mexico City's water system. This paper explores the role that citizen protest plays in the city's response to its water challenges. We use media reports of water protests to examine where protests happen and the causes associated with them. We analyze this information to illuminate socio-political issues associated with the city's water problems, such as political corruption, gentrification, as well as general power dynamics and lack of transparency between citizens, governments, and the private businesses which interact with them. We use text analysis of newspaper reports to analyze protest events in terms of the primary stimuli of water conflict, the areas within the city more prone to conflict, and the ways in which conflict and protest are used to initiate improved water management and to influence decision making to address water inequities. We found that water scarcity is the primary source of conflict, and that water scarcity is tied to new housing and commercial construction. These new constructions often disrupt water supplies and displace of minority or marginalized groups, which we denote as gentrification. The project demonstrates the intimate ties between inequities in housing and water in urban development. Key words: Conflict, protest, Mexico City, scarcity, new construction

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  • 2017-05