The Spatial Political Economy of Urban Infrastructure Transformation

Based on dr.polit dissertation in human geography, University of Oslo (2003): Constructing Urban Technology – Producing Urban Space. The Case of Geomatics in the Transformation of Water and Road Infrastructures.

Through history, two parallel and closely interrelated processes have been observed in urbanised environments worldwide. The first and most encompassing set of processes is the wide range of transfor¬mations, reconstructions and processes of social production of urban space continually going on around the world. This complex set of processes form the background and the wider context for the phenomena inquired into here. The second set of processes is the parallel transformations of urban technology, or infrastructure net¬works, taking place within urban spaces around the globe. This constitutes the foreground and the object of interest in the following exploration. 

The historical development of infrastructure net¬works is closely intertwined with the history of urbanisation itself. The built spaces of circulation, flow and mobility - the spaces of electricity, gas, water and sewage, transport, information and communications - forms the necessary socio-material basis for living in urban areas. The solutions to the provision of such services to continuously growing urban populations around the world have manifested themselves in a variety of different infrastructure net¬works. These solutions have distinctive technological, economic and institutional/organisational features that vary both across time and across space and they constitute conditions for socio-spatial relations and spatial practices.

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