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Infra-spacing African urban futures beyond "concrete" visions 
Genet Alem (TU Dortmund University)
Sophie Schramm (TU Dortmund)
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Sophie Schramm (TU Dortmund)
Genet Alem (TU Dortmund University)
Urban Studies (x) Infrastructure (y)
Philosophikum, S94
Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Infra-spacing is a form of space production at the edge of infrastructure networks constructed to facilitate traffic flow. The networks are often the causes of eviction of people, while their use, improved flow of people and goods, encourages marginalised residents to re-appropriate urban space.

Long Abstract:

Urban infrastructure networks are ambivalent. They allow for the flow of people and goods - they enable movement, access and connection. Simultaneously, they may also disconnect and isolate - African urban dwellers who are displaced or evicted for the construction of large infrastructures admit the ongoing rush to build and experience this reality every day. In this panel, we approach this ambivalence of urban infrastructures from the perspective of people, places and economies that may be marginalised and at the same time at a central position through contesting spaces produced by urban infrastructures. Planning visions and ongoing infrastructure projects are often fixated on an idea of infrastructure as made of concrete and steel, the very hardware of orderly urbanism while disregarding marginalised and seemingly disorderly people, trades and places. However, such infrastructures produce a variety of spaces beyond such "concrete visions" that people may appropriate beyond the scope of formal planning and design. We focus at such spaces produced at the interface of intended and unintended uses along large infrastructure networks. Such spaces emerge, for instance, along road corridors, where dynamic service points emerge that target pedestrian and passengers of motorised vehicles in the congested peakhours' traffic and at the nodes of traffic lights.The panel discusses the different possibilities in which urban dwellers may engage with the ambivalence of infrastructures and the prospects of emerging dynamics of infra-spacing as forces shaping urban Africa. It also discusses the implication of such spaces for future planning endeavours and urban citizenship.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -