Oil Spaces: The global petroleumscape in the Rotterdam/The Hague area

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


This paper explores the ways in which corporate and public actors have inserted the physical and financial flows of petroleum into the built environment, connecting the power of private investment to the force of public planning. It identifies different layers--both visible and invisible, physical and depicted--that combine into a palimpsestic global petroleumscape. It argues that the spatial presence of petroleum structures and the close collaboration of relevant actors has created path dependencies that reinforce the petroleumscape. It further
posits that the everyday use, representation, and mostly positive appreciation of petroleum-related structures among citizens of different classes, races, cultures, genders, and ages has created a a feedback loop or an energy culture that helps maintain the buildings and urban forms needed for physical and financial oil flows and celebrates oil as a heroic cultural agent – thus leading societies to consume more oil. Following a general analysis of the concept of the petroleumscape, the article uses the Rotterdam/Den Haag area, part of the North
West European petroleum hub, as a case study. In appreciating the power and extent of oil can we engage with the complex challenges of sustainable design and policymaking, develop heritage concepts, and imagine future built environments beyond oil.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventPetrocultures 2018: Transitions - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Aug 20181 Sep 2018


ConferencePetrocultures 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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