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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2020

11. Meeting Water Needs as a Major Challenge in an Urban Context

Examples from the Danube Region (1300–1600)

Elisabeth Gruber

Examples from the Danube Region (1300–1600)



Water appears as a powerful and influential medium in a tight network of relations between human action and the material world with complex impacts. The use, management and control of water constantly led to processes of negotiation regarding competence and responsibilities between the actors involved. It was not only about control and distribution, but also about protection against risks and how to manage them, about the control of abundance or scarcity and the evaluation of alterations in the landscape resulting from dams. This article will reflect on water as a medium and investigate the influence water had on urban communities in the Middle Ages by using the example of the towns Krems and Stein on the Danube. It discusses the system of planning, coordination and resource management required by the construction and maintenance of urban facilities as part of public infrastructure. From this viewpoint, water supply and its communal organisation it will raise questions about the social function of water infrastructure in an urban context.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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