This article is co-authored by fourteen researchers, among them Sharing a Planet in Peril (SAPP) members Peter Dannenberg, Clemens Greiner and Javier Revilla Diez.
Infrastructure has never been a single thing, understood in a universal way. Yet, there has long been a broad overarching orthodox approach in which ‘experts’ create replicable, stable, large, networked systems to control nature and ensure regular, predictable flows of people, materials and information. Within this orthodoxy, infrastructure is narrated as good, contributing to economic and social development. In this paper, we identify environmental, economic, political and social pressures challenging this approach to infrastructure, pushing for it to be understood, enacted and constructed differently. We then show how actors have responded to these pressures through examples of flood mitigation, corridor development and sanitation. Our cases are not pure instances of a new approach. Instead, we use them to tease out emergent efforts (and struggles) to rework infrastructure, to make it more fluid, flexible, sustainable and responsive to democratic demands, as well as to more clearly link infrastructure with well-being. These examples reinforce the importance of differentiating infrastructure, including considering how particular approaches imagine and contribute to sustainability and well-being. In this context, we point towards broader ideas of how infrastructure might be reimagined and remade in the future, and the difficult politics of such new visions.
Lawhon, M., Follmann, A., Braun, B., Cornea, N., Greiner, C., Guma, P., Karpouzoglou, T., Revilla Diez, J., Schindler, S., Schramm, S., Sielker, F., Tups, G., Vij, S., Dannenberg, P. 2023. Making Heterogeneous Infrastructure Futures in and Beyond the Global South, Futures, 2023,103270, DOI