Water and power networks and urban fragmentation in Los Angeles: Rethinking assumed mechanisms

Fionn Mackillop, Fionn MacKillop, Julie Anne Boudreau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Los Angeles is often described as the epitome of urban fragmentation, a notion which in this context is frequently connected to, or even conflated with urban sprawl. At the same time, the city features integrated water and power networks which have been under public ownership for over 70 years. We thus have an apparent paradox in the context of the debate on 'splintering urbanism', between socio-spatial fragmentation and the integration of networks. In discussing the idea that deregulation of infrastructural networks exacerbates urban fragmentation, the authors use the case of Los Angeles in order to highlight the central role of private interests in management decisions concerning infrastructure networks. The authors carry out their analysis in an historical perspective, revealing that network integration and universal access can often serve private interests more than the public good. Urban fragmentation in Los Angeles, they conclude, is the result of a complex process of instrumentalisation of network development and management. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1833-1842
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Incorporation
  • Integration
  • Los Angeles
  • Secession
  • Splintering urbanism
  • Sprawl
  • Urban fragmentation
  • Urban networks
  • Water and power networks


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