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From the ordinary to the extraordinary, all of us experience infrastructure in its various forms over the course of the day, from when we wake to when we go to sleep - and much in between. In some cases, this is the presence of infrastructure. In others, it is the absence of infrastructure that shapes and structures the lives of some who live in cities, for example, blue infrastructure to ensure drinkable water, or libraries as social infrastructure to support the education and learning among a population. Infrastructure shapes lives, and in turn, these lives are shaped by it. This edited collection argues that an attention to the pasts, presents and futures of infrastructure allows for an understanding of the current relationally constituted and experienced urban condition in and across cities of the Global North and South. It asks the reader to think through the different ways in which infrastructure comes to be present in cities and the making of urban worlds.

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The Politics of Remaking Cities

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Focusing on material and social forms of infrastructure, this edited collection draws on rich empirical details from cities across the global North and South. The book asks the reader to think through the different ways in which infrastructure comes to be present in cities and its co-constitutive relationships with urban inhabitants and wider processes of urbanization.

Considering the climate emergency, economic transformation, public health crises and racialized inequality, the book argues that paying attention to infrastructures’ past, present and future allows us to understand and respond to the current urban condition.

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Infrastructuring urban futures is a dynamic process involving complex relationships that are simultaneously reorganized and reconfigured through infrastructure. Understanding cities through their infrastructure offers a way of conceptualizing the common systems, networks, and flows that reproduce the diversity of historical legacies and contemporary realities facing cities across the Global South and Global North. This Introduction first presents a critical review of scholarly literature on urban infrastructure, then discusses the overarching themes that cut across the book, making three key points. First, that a grounded, material, and geographic analysis is necessary for infrastructure research. Second, that infrastructure always operates within the uneven and contradictory logics of contemporary capitalist accumulation. Third, infrastructure’s capacity to provide for some people, certain goods, and particular flows of information, while at the same time disenfranchising and/or disconnecting other residents and other elements of the urban condition, are a matter of everyday urban politics. Articulating a more-just urban future inherently necessitates understanding the role of and place of infrastructure within and between cities.

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