Examining nature-society relations through urban infrastructure
Historically, the modern infrastructure ideal has dominated the imagination of engineers and planners. As a consequence, urban water and sanitation networks comprising of pipes, pumps, and reservoirs, have largely been built in the same way all over world. However, the multilayered challenges experienced by cities worldwide demand a new approach as part of imagining future urban infrastructures. Building on recent urban scholarship, we mobilise the concept of ‘Heterogeneous Infrastructure Configuration’ (HIC) to advance theoretical and empirical insights on nature and society relations in urban regions where heterogeneous infrastructures and networks are - or are about to become - challenged. We will combine theoretical insights with grounded empirical work in Guwahati (India) Stockholm (Sweden) and Kampala (Uganda). These three cities are at interesting historical junctures in terms of their water infrastructures and appear to be breaking out of the modern infrastructure ideal. The project is timely in its attempt to learn across Northern and Southern urban experiences and will generate new insights about how to create more socially inclusive and resilient urban infrastructures.