The man in the machine in the meadow: a reinterpretation of Water Resource Infrastructure at the Vaal Dam

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dc.contributor.author McNally, Rebecca
dc.date.accessioned 2015-04-30T08:11:25Z
dc.date.available 2015-04-30T08:11:25Z
dc.date.issued 2015-04-30
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/17576
dc.description.abstract The relationship between Man and Nature can be divided into three ‘eras.’ The first era refers to a time when Man was dominated by Nature, governed by her fluctuating seasons and at the mercy of her erratic moods. Man’s advancement brought into being the Machine, which enabled Man to move into a second era. This era brought about a brief state of equilibrium between Nature and Man, before Man advanced even further and faster into a third era in which Man and Machine dominated Nature. Man’s appropriation of Nature’s resources is his most intimate experience of the Natural world. However, in this third phase of development, Man has negated the ‘natural’ source of Nature’s resources and has thus disconnected himself from her. As a result of this disconnection, the third era is characterised by an imbalance which is leading towards the possibility of Man tipping off the scales entirely. This thesis explores the possibility of a fourth era in which Man and Nature once again achieve an equilibrium of mutually beneficial symbiosis. A fourth era would be the setting of a mend in the severed Man-Nature relationship. A ‘reconnection’ could be achieved through a renewed understanding of the systems, both natural and technological, that supply Man with Nature’s resources. The ‘Machine’ that is the Vaal Dam Wall and its surrounds was chosen as a locus for the theoretical application of a form of inhabited resource infrastructure that takes steps towards a fused Man-Nature entity. The dam wall is a significant piece of existing infrastructure that plays a major role in the capture, storage, and distribution of water to people in Gauteng, South Africa’s economic powerhouse. A legible, multi-use intervention sensitively placed on this site could reconnect the water-users to the natural water resource that is so vital to their livelihoods. The intervention is in the form of a visitor centre which incorporates water purification and hydroelectric power generation as well as a management facility for the Department of Water Affairs, the entity with jurisdiction over the Vaal water system and dam wall site. The Vaal Dam Visitor Centre could provide much-needed infrastructure to the chosen site in its un-realised capacity as a locus for tourism, education, research and management. In doing so, the Centre could be the ‘Machine’ that reconnects Man to Nature through responsible use and understanding of her resources. en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.subject.classification City planning
dc.subject.classification Dams design and construction
dc.subject.classification Vaal Dam (South Africa)
dc.subject.classification Water resource management
dc.subject.classification South Africa
dc.title The man in the machine in the meadow: a reinterpretation of Water Resource Infrastructure at the Vaal Dam en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA


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