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Accepted Paper:

The rise and fall of Yachay the city of knowledge of Ecuador: temporalities, infrastructures and the unmaking of futures  
José Gómez (Universidad de Cuenca)

Short abstract:

The paper investigates "Yachay, the City of Knowledge" in Ecuador, focusing on its aim for technological progress and nation-building. It explores the projects unravelling, and ties it to historical inequalities, emphasizing the significance of temporal analysis for infrastructural projects.

Long abstract:

This paper explores the case of “Yachay, the City of Knowledge” in light of the making and the unmaking of a national narrative of technological prowess, nation-state building, and revolution for Ecuador through this infrastructural project. The paper explores the project´s initial design and its implementation process and its unmaking, investigating the dynamics of the project through diverse socio-technical relations, times, and settings. It focuses on the period during the material implementation of some of its fundamental physical infrastructure (2011-2016). Starting with the selection of the site for the development of the project, I explore the narrative and practices that projected Yachay as Ecuador´s path into a ‘brighter future’ that justified the expropriation of 4462 hectares of land to build the new city. The narrative subsequently moves to the processes of repair and maintenance conducted in the buildings of the old Hacienda on the base of which the university at the heart of the project would operate.

The paper explores the long-lasting historical inequalities regarding land accumulation, ownership, and decay in the region to which Yachay became coupled, as well as the expectations that materialized symbolically and physically in the infrastructures emerging from the repair processes. In short, the onus of the analysis lays in making visible the temporal complexity that characterized the infrastructuring processes while arguing why it is academically sound and socially coherent to study pasts and futures in tandem when analysing innovation projects, particularly in regions of the world intensely marked by deep historical injustices.

Traditional Open Panel P106
The promises and fractures of infrastructures: infrastructural imaginaries and the realities of our built world
  Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -