Is the grid people or product? Relational infrastructure networks in Cape Town’s energy-housing nexus
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Lemanski, C., & Massey, R. Is the grid people or product? Relational infrastructure networks in Cape Town’s energy-housing nexus. Urban Geography https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.85450
Although urban infrastructure is widely recognized as a physical-material representation of socio-political processes, infrastructure networks remain overwhelmingly conceived as technological reticulation systems that distribute services. While post-networked infrastructure debates highlight hybrid and heterogeneous infrastructure configurations, debates remain framed by implicit assumptions that the “network” is primarily the physical grid. Furthermore, while the relational nature of infrastructure is acknowledged, highlighting for example how people’s everyday practices are themselves a form of infrastructure, the language of infrastructure networks remains largely physical-material. Using the example of the Ceiling Retrofit Programme in Cape Town (South Africa), this paper reveals how relationships between people, the state, and material infrastructures, are core, but frequently neglected, infrastructure networks. The paper demonstrates how devaluing human networks disrupts these relationships and undermines the effectiveness of physical infrastructure. Consequently, we argue that infrastructure networks require re-theorization to acknowledge and value human-relational networks as equal to, and embedded in, physical-material networks.
British Academy GCRF Cities and Infrastructure Programme under Grant CI170285: Energy innovation for low-income housing in India and South Africa: strategies for inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional dialogue, led by Charlotte Lemanski (2017-19).
British Academy (CI170285)
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.85450
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/338041
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/