Turbulent presents, precarious futures: urbanization and the deployment of global infrastructure

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Understandings of global infrastructure within and between cities have primarily focused on two forms: the node and the corridor. Scholarship detailing the extensive growth of these infrastructures focus on standardization to account for the underlying networks configuring urbanization. However, standardization fails to account for the dynamic, contested and geographically uneven process of infrastructure deployment. Four generative concepts focus analysis on the stages of deployment: speculation, delineating, alignment and pivoting. After discussing China's Belt and Road Initiative as the underlying geoeconomic force driving the transformation of these systems, we present an illustrative case of the Central Corridor linking Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Kampala (Uganda) as emblematic of urbanization through global infrastructure. Concluding, we argue for a research agenda that places global infrastructure at the centre of how we understand urban transformation amid contemporary political–economic turbulence, one that emphasizes the contingent ways deployment proceeds.




Wiig, A., & Silver, J. (2019). Turbulent presents, precarious futures: urbanization and the deployment of global infrastructure. Regional Studies, 53(6), 912–923. https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2019.1566703

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