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How does the infrastructuring of future worlds appear when we shift the scale of analysis from the urban to the regional? Drawing on the infrastructural regionalism framework, this afterword puts forward three ways that infrastructuring urban futures can be contextualized from a slightly different perspective: that of the region. We first consider the spatial fetish, and how the ‘local trap’ can create analytical blind spots. We then describe how the regional scale can position ‘knowledge fragments’ about infrastructure in different ways. Finally, we focus on the futures constructed by and through infrastructures, arguing that time and geography are overlooked parameters in how new infrastructures are justified. We end with a call for embracing a plurality of scalar perspectives when evaluating urban infrastructural futures.

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Temporality and the Making of Global Urban Worlds

Whether waiting for the train or planning the future city, infrastructure orders–and depends on–multiple urban temporalities.

This agenda-setting volume disrupts conventional notions of time through a robust examination of the relations between temporality, infrastructure, and urban society. Conceptually rich and empirically detailed, its interdisciplinary dialogue encompasses infrastructural systems including transportation, energy, and water to bridge often-siloed technical, political-economic and lived perspectives.

With global coverage of diverse cities and regions from Berlin to Jayapura, this book is an essential provocation to re-evaluate urban theory, politics, and practice and better account for the temporal complexities that shape our infrastructured worlds.

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This edited volume addresses overlooked questions of time and temporality to advocate for a ‘temporal turn’ in critical infrastructure studies. The chapters in the book examine multifaceted temporalities – ranging from long-range planning horizons to the rhythms of everyday life in the city – to build an interdisciplinary dialogue that bridges technical, political-economic, and experiential knowledge of urban infrastructure. With global coverage of cities and regions from Berlin and Toronto to Cairo and Jayapura, the book argues for the conceptual and political significance of emphasizing the social construction and experience of time through infrastructure, as well as the importance of analysing the diversity of temporal codes that infrastructure urbanization processes. Conceptually rich and empirically detailed chapters uncover the complex relationship between radical and incremental change to reveal unexpected pathways of urban and technological transformation. Moments of spectacular infrastructural development and everyday social practices invite readers to rethink self-evident and linear notions of time in and beyond the networked metropolis. By contextualizing infrastructures’ pasts and what they signify about the future, the book generates a multidimensional perspective on ‘infrastructure time’ as a research problematic, an empirical concern, and a methodological approach. In doing so, it forwards an essential provocation to re-evaluate urban theory, politics, and practice to better account for the temporal complexities that shape our infrastructured worlds.

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This chapter provides a synthetic assessment of the varied infrastructures, temporalities, and geographies encountered throughout the book. It identifies and expands upon the key thematic contributions developed across the chapters and details their collective theoretical implications for the study of time in urban and infrastructure studies. The chapter argues for the potential of infrastructures’ temporalities to inform comparative urban research while reflecting on the political and scalar challenges raised by the problematique of infrastructure time. It suggests that the task for future infrastructure studies lies in creating geographically contextual accounts of pluralistic temporal modalities capable of considering empirical details about both the microseconds involved in self-healing systems and the epochal transformations of the Anthropocene. The chapter concludes by outlining the parameters for a research agenda on infrastructure time that includes accounting for infrastructure futures, examining urban infrastructure at night, and engaging with non-Western temporal ontologies.

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This edited volume addresses overlooked questions of time and temporality to advocate for a ‘temporal turn’ in critical infrastructure studies. The chapters in the book examine multifaceted temporalities – ranging from long-range planning horizons to the rhythms of everyday life in the city – to build an interdisciplinary dialogue that bridges technical, political-economic, and experiential knowledge of urban infrastructure. With global coverage of cities and regions from Berlin and Toronto to Cairo and Jayapura, the book argues for the conceptual and political significance of emphasizing the social construction and experience of time through infrastructure, as well as the importance of analysing the diversity of temporal codes that infrastructure urbanization processes. Conceptually rich and empirically detailed chapters uncover the complex relationship between radical and incremental change to reveal unexpected pathways of urban and technological transformation. Moments of spectacular infrastructural development and everyday social practices invite readers to rethink self-evident and linear notions of time in and beyond the networked metropolis. By contextualizing infrastructures’ pasts and what they signify about the future, the book generates a multidimensional perspective on ‘infrastructure time’ as a research problematic, an empirical concern, and a methodological approach. In doing so, it forwards an essential provocation to re-evaluate urban theory, politics, and practice to better account for the temporal complexities that shape our infrastructured worlds.

Restricted access

This edited volume addresses overlooked questions of time and temporality to advocate for a ‘temporal turn’ in critical infrastructure studies. The chapters in the book examine multifaceted temporalities – ranging from long-range planning horizons to the rhythms of everyday life in the city – to build an interdisciplinary dialogue that bridges technical, political-economic, and experiential knowledge of urban infrastructure. With global coverage of cities and regions from Berlin and Toronto to Cairo and Jayapura, the book argues for the conceptual and political significance of emphasizing the social construction and experience of time through infrastructure, as well as the importance of analysing the diversity of temporal codes that infrastructure urbanization processes. Conceptually rich and empirically detailed chapters uncover the complex relationship between radical and incremental change to reveal unexpected pathways of urban and technological transformation. Moments of spectacular infrastructural development and everyday social practices invite readers to rethink self-evident and linear notions of time in and beyond the networked metropolis. By contextualizing infrastructures’ pasts and what they signify about the future, the book generates a multidimensional perspective on ‘infrastructure time’ as a research problematic, an empirical concern, and a methodological approach. In doing so, it forwards an essential provocation to re-evaluate urban theory, politics, and practice to better account for the temporal complexities that shape our infrastructured worlds.

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This chapter situates Infrastructural Times in relation to current debates in urban and infrastructure studies. It introduces the book’s central themes and discusses key temporal dimensions of urban infrastructure, including socio-technical systems’ impact on the urban experience, temporal fixes, infrastructural imaginaries, and temporalities of maintenance and repair. The chapter argues that centring time with the contemporary global ‘infrastructure turn’ enriches, extends, and challenges current work by posing critical questions in novel registers: disrupting neat teleological narratives; probing the relationship between radical and incremental transformation; interrogating moments of temporal disruption; exploring the unexpected pathways of technological and urban development; contextualizing infrastructures’ pasts; and asking what they signify about the future. It then introduces the chapters in the book and presents the key theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions made throughout the volume.

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