International Workshop: Understanding change in urban infrastructure landscapes
Call for Abstracts
Date: 12th May 2020
Location: Urban Institute, Interdisciplinary Center of the Social Sciences, 219 Portobello, Sheffield S1 4DP
Global environmental challenges including climate breakdown and the global biodiversity crisis call for a fundamental re-examination of the relationship between societies, technology, and resources (Bulkeley 2015; Nightingale et al. 2019). Urban infrastructure- the socio-material systems that enable the provision of fundamental services in urban environments, mediate the possibilities for societal transformations in the context of urbanization (Lawhon et al. 2018; Luque-Ayala, Marvin, and Bulkeley 2018; Lwasa 2019; Monstadt 2009). In this workshop we will explore how urban life is organised around infrastructure systems and how such systems change.
The workshop will engage explicitly with the concept of urban infrastructure landscapes to understand systemic transformations. According to Castán Broto (2017, 2019), urban infrastructure landscapes help examine three propositions about infrastructure and change in urban areas. First, the concept of urban infrastructure landscapes relates infrastructure politics with everyday struggles intertwined with specific technological projects of urban control. This can support a postcolonial perspective on urban infrastructures that situates landscapes within historical trajectories shaping the urban condition. Second, landscape theory helps recognising the heterogeneous, coexisting configurations of urban infrastructure. This challenges one-size-fits-all approaches, which assume homogeneity across cities and economies of scale in the extension of infrastructure networks. Third, urban energy landscapes foreground the routine action of citizens as they transform their surroundings through mundane activities.
We thus seek contributions that engage with the question of change in urban infrastructure landscapes that contribute, for example:
- Postcolonial perspectives on urban infrastructure politics
- Practices of urban resistance embedded in everyday life
- Cultural change grounded on bottom-up infrastructure initiatives
- Explorations of the relational character of urban infrastructure
- Historical analysis of changes in urban infrastructure landscapes
We intend to develop a special issue on change in urban infrastructure landscapes.
If you are interested in attending the workshop, please send us your abstract (300 words max.) by 14th Feb 2020 (notification of abstract acceptance: 25th Feb 2020). Contact: Enora Robin email@example.com
The workshop is funded with the generous support of the Landscape Research Group and the Leverhulme Trust, and will be run by the Climate Urbanism team at the Urban Institute in the University of Sheffield. It will take place on the 12th of May 2019 with the possibility to stay on the 13th to attend a follow up event on energy infrastructures in Africa. As travel and accommodation will be covered by the Urban Institute, we require prospective participants to indicate an estimate of their travelling/accommodation costs to Sheffield when sending their abstract.
Bulkeley, Harriet. 2015. An Urban Politics of Climate Change: Experimentation and the Governing of Socio-Technical Transitions. London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
Castán Broto, Vanesa. 2017. ‘Energy Landscapes and Urban Trajectories towards Sustainability’. Energy Policy 108: 755–64.
———. 2019. Urban Energy Landscapes. Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY, USA: University Printing House.
Lawhon, Mary et al. 2018. ‘Thinking through Heterogeneous Infrastructure Configurations’. Urban Studies 55(4): 720–32.
Luque-Ayala, Andrés, Simon Marvin, and Harriet Bulkeley, eds. 2018. Rethinking Urban Transitions: Politics in the Low Carbon City. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
Lwasa, Shuaib. 2019. ‘Appreciating the Heterogeneity in the Unity of Africa: A Socio‐ecological Perspective on Africa’s Geographies’. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien 63(4): 594–602.
Monstadt, Jochen. 2009. ‘Conceptualizing the Political Ecology of Urban Infrastructures: Insights from Technology and Urban Studies’. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 41(8): 1924–42.
Nightingale, Andrea Joslyn et al. 2019. ‘Beyond Technical Fixes: Climate Solutions and the Great Derangement’. Climate and Development: 1–10.