Beyond the Networked City
Infrastructure Reconfigurations and Urban Change in the North and South
Edited by Olivier Coutard, Jonathan Rutherford
Routledge – 2015 – 256 pages
Cities around the world are undergoing profound changes as they become bound up in and recombined with interlinked processes of globalisation, the rise of knowledge economies, digital technologies, and spreading discourses and concerns about environmentalism and sustainable development. The so-called "modern infrastructural ideal" — spatially and socially ubiquitous, centrally-governed networked infrastructures providing exclusive, homogeneous services over extensive supply areas — has been, and to a large extent still is, the standard of reference for the provision of basic essential services, such as water and energy supply. This dependence is, revealed by the harsh everyday life of poorly- or non-served populations in Global South cities, or by the major disruptions resulting from occasional infrastructure failures in Global North cities.
This book argues that, after decades of undisputed domination, this ideal is increasingly questioned and that the network ideology that supports it may be waning. With contributions from leading authorities in the field, this book draws on the latest advances in social and urban theory, and original empirical material from North and South, to critically analyse the ongoing shifts in the relations between cities and technical infrastructure systems. It explore the urban condition beyond the realm of large networked infrastructures in globally diverse contexts, focusing in particular on:
- the processes of production and reproduction of alternative configurations for the supply of basic services in specific urban contexts;
- the urban political economy of infrastructure reconfigurations and of the associated rearticulations between technical infrastructures and the built environment on various scales (from individual buildings to urban regions);
- the urban spaces associated with these infrastructural configurations, especially as regards the patterns of sociospatial inequalities or fragmentation in access to essential services and the patterns and scales of the "relational urban" so characteristic of the contemporary world.
This book is a major contribution to an ongoing infrastructural turn in urban studies, and will be of interest to all those concerned by the diverse forms and contested outcomes of contemporary urban change across North and South.
Preface Gabriel Dupuy and Joel Tarr 1. Introduction Olivier Coutard and Jonathan Rutherford Part I. Challenging Large Infrastructure Systems: Facets of Contemporary Systemic Sociotechnical Change 2. Conceptualizing Symbiosis: Urban Utilities, The Reframing of Centralized Networks and the Ambiguous Quest for Sustainability Denis Bocquet 3. Infrastructures and Practices: Emergence, Persistence, Disappearance Elizabeth Shove 4. The Changing Functions and Value of the Paris Dual Water System: Symptom or Result of Post-Networked Urbanism? Sabine Barles, André Guillerme and Olivier Coutard Part II. Urban Innovations and the Political Economy of Infrastructure Rescaling 5. District Heating Comes to Ecotown: Zero Carbon Housing and the Rescaling Simon Guy and Andrew Karvonen 6. Enabling Urban Energy: Governance of Innovation in two UK Cities Janette Webb 7. The Urban Politics of Electricity Peak Load Management Harriet Bulkeley 8. Mediating the Gap Between Custom, Cost-Recovery, and ‘Networks’: An Example from Colombia Kathryn Furlong 9. The Political Economy of Waste: Contested Management of An Impure Public Evil In Two Middle-Sized Cities In Brazil And India Jérémie Cavé Part III. Reconfiguring Infrastructures, Reordering the Urban: Infrastructure Spaces Beyond Networked Urbanism 10. On the Ecologization Of Infrastructures and its Urban Implications Simon Marvin 11. Translating Infrastructure Ideals in The Global South: Urban Transitions and Sanitation Regimes In Hanoi Jochen Monstadt And Sophie Schramm 12. Water Wars in Mumbai Stephen Graham, Renu Desai and Colin McFarlane 13. Essential Services in African Cities: Cniversalization by Other Means? Sylvy Jaglin 14. For an "Infrastructural Turn" in Urban Studies Jonathan Rutherford and Olivier Coutard