Blue Infrastructures: An Exploration of Oceanic Networks and Urban–Industrial–Energy Interactions in the Gulf of Mexico

Sustainability 15 (18):1-14 (2023)
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Urban infrastructures serve as the backbone of modern economies, mediating global exchanges and responding to urban demands. Yet, our comprehension of these complex structures, particularly within diverse socio-political terrain, remains fragmented. In bridging this knowledge gap, this study delves into “boundary objects”—entities enabling diverse stakeholders to collaborate without a comprehensive consensus. Central to our investigation is the hypothesis that oceanic infrastructural developments are instrumental in molding the interface of urban, industrial, and energy sectors within marine contexts. Our lens is directed at the Gulf of Mexico, which is distinguished by its industrial depth and expansive marine grid. We highlight the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway’s (GIWW) paramount role in regional movement and the ecological facets of practices such as dredging, which is vital for transport and coastal conservation. A striking revelation of our study is the transformation of offshore structures in the Gulf into vibrant marine habitats. Emphasizing the intertwined nature of marine infrastructures, we denote oceans as pivotal platforms for impending urban expansion, especially as land resources wane. Our research aspires to validate the role played by oceans as a nexus in the urban–industrial–energy fusion.

Author's Profile

Asma Mehan
Texas Tech University


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