Infrastructural futures across cities of the global north
Funding period: 1 July 2019 – 1 April 2020
Type of funding: Seminar Series
Host institution: University of Manchester (UK)
Date: September 2019 (Manchester), March 2020 (Philadelphia)
Lead organiser: Prof. Kevin Ward (Department of Geography, University of Manchester)
Team members: Dr. Theresa Enright (University of Toronto), Dr. Michael Hodson (University of
Manchester), Dr. Hamil Pearsall (Temple University), Dr. Jonathan Silver (University
of Sheffield) and Dr. Alan Wiig (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
Contact: Prof. Kevin Ward
Abstract: Infrastructural futures across cities of the global north will involve thinking through the different ways in which infrastructure comes to be present in cities, the nature of its relationship with urbanization and how this might involve, or perhaps even necessitate, a rethinking of the concept itself. More specifically, it will examine how amid ongoing and increasing global economic and political uncertainty, urban policy makers and practitioners appear to be using infrastructure as a means to re-think the place of their cities in the world.
Comprising one workshop in Manchester in September 2019 and a second in Philadelphia in March 2020, this award takes its geographical focus as the global north, where starting in the 1990s, cities have sought out strategies of being in the world as a way to render themselves, and the nations of which they are part, competitive in the emerging multi-national, post-industrializing ‘smart’ economy. Infrastructure, both within and between formerly-industrial cities, is foundational to the economic, environmental, political, and societal challenges faced by cities, even they are woven amid obdurate inherited, industrial landscapes. As such we contend that the past, present and the future of infrastructure offers a productive means for theorizing the turbulent state of ‘the urban’ today and that yet to come.