1st Edition

Oil Spaces Exploring the Global Petroleumscape

Edited By Carola Hein Copyright 2022
    300 Pages 129 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    300 Pages 129 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Oil Spaces traces petroleum’s impact through a range of territories from across the world, showing how industrially drilled petroleum and its refined products have played a major role in transforming the built environment in ways that are often not visible or recognized. Over the past century and a half, industrially drilled petroleum has powered factories, built cities, and sustained nation-states. It has fueled ways of life and visions of progress, modernity, and disaster.

    In detailed international case studies, the contributors consider petroleum’s role in the built environment and the imagination. They study how petroleum and its infrastructure have served as a source of military conflict and political and economic power, inspiring efforts to create territories and reshape geographies and national boundaries. The authors trace ruptures and continuities between colonial and postcolonial frameworks, in locations as diverse as Sumatra, northeast China, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kuwait as well as heritage sites including former power stations in Italy and the port of Dunkirk, once a prime gateway through which petroleum entered Europe.

    By revealing petroleum’s role in organizing and imagining space globally, this book takes up a key task in imagining the possibilities of a post-oil future. It will be invaluable reading to scholars and students of architectural and urban history, planning, and geography of sustainable urban environments.

    1. Space, Time, and Oil: The Global Petroleumscape

    Carola Hein

    PART I: Oil, Agency, and Territoriality

    2. The Original North American Petroleumscape: Oil-and-Gas Empire, Petrochemical Nation

    Carola Hein and Alan Lessoff

    3. Petroleumscape as Battleground: Pladjoe, Pearl in the Crown of the Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij (BPM/Shell) in the Dutch East Indies

    Ben de Vries

    4. Mapping the Persian Gulf Petroleumscape: The Production of Territory, Territoriality, and Sovereignty

    Stephen J. Ramos

    5. Between Visible and Invisible: Eni and the Building of the African Petroleumscape

    Giulia Scotto

    6. The Offshore Petroleumscape: Grids, Gods, and Giants of the North Sea

    Nancy Couling

    PART II: Oil, Materiality, and Cultural Practices

    7. Arab Oil Towns as Petro-Histories

    Nelida Fuccaro

    8. Building Brazil’s Petroleumscape on Land and Sea: Infrastructure, Expertise, and Technology

    Drielli Peyerl

    9. Precious Property: Water and Oil in Twentieth-Century Kuwait

    Laura Hindelang

    10. Dimensions of the Petroleumscape in the Port and the City of Hamburg

    Christoph Strupp

    11. “Production First, Livelihood Second”: The Life and Death of Worker-Peasant Model Villages in a Chinese Oil Field

    Hou Li

    PART III: Oil Ecologies and Imaginaries

    12. Energy Humanities and the Petroleumscape

    Imre Szeman and Caleb Wellum

    13. Antwerp’s Petroleumscape: Imagining the Carbon Age

    Pieter Uyttenhove

    14. Power Stations and Petroleum Heritage in Italy: The Case of Porto Tolle

    Chiara Geroldi and Gloria Pessina

    15. Petroleumscape as Heritage Landscape: The Case of the Dunkirk Port City Region

    Carola Hein, Christine Stroobandt, and Stephan Hauser


    Carola Hein is professor of history of architecture and urban planning at Delft University of Technology. Her authored and (co-) edited books include Adaptive Strategies for Water Heritage (2019), The Routledge Handbook of Planning History (2018), Port Cities (2011), Cities, Autonomy and Decentralisation in Japan (2006), The Capital of Europe (2004), and Rebuilding Urban Japan after 1945 (2003).