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Beyond the Networked City : Infrastructure Reconfigurations and Urban Change in the North and South
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Cities around the world are undergoing profound changes. In this global era, we live in a world of rising knowledge economies, digital technologies, and awareness of environmental issues. The so-called "modern infrastructural ideal" of spatially and socially ubiquitous centrally-governed infrastructures providing exclusive, homogeneous services over extensive areas, has been the standard of reference for the provision of basic essential services, such as water and energy supply. This book argues that, after decades of undisputed domination, this ideal is being 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 the North and South, to critically analyse the ongoing shifts in the relations between cities and technical infrastructure systems. It explores 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 re-articulations 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 with regards to the patterns of sociospatial inequalities 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.