The project consists of three strands that focus on different types of connectivity, all rooted in considerations of power and energy. The three strands are:
- River systems and their connected bio-physical, energetic, commercial and cultural flows (with reference to Tyne and Severn).
- Infrastructure and energy systems/sectors and their connected sites of generation, transmission and consumption (with reference to the national grid’s emergence and the energy environments of 20th century Somerset).
- The infrastructure of constructed watercourses and how they connect notions of natural and cultural heritage and watercourses above and below ground (with reference to soughs [drainage channels/artificial rivers] in Derbyshire’s former lead mining district).
Each strand contributes to the generation of consequential new syntheses of environmental history and environmental thought in Britain, demonstrating the historical development and contingency of ‘environmental connectivity’, but also their place- and context-specific character. These endeavours hook up with themes highlighted in the ‘Care for the Future’ and ‘Connected Communities’ programmes. What kind of future envisioning, and possibilities for progress toward sustainable development or risks of degradation and dissolution, are associated with particular forms of environmental connectivity? How far are people and communities aware of connections undergirding their lives? What kind of responsibilities and ideas of stewardship or ownership has this conferred on individuals, systems of knowledge generation, institutions, and, indeed, the ‘forces of nature’?