Advertisement

Infrastructure in South African Cities

  • Alex WaferEmail author
Chapter
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL)

Abstract

Infrastructure (literally meaning the underlying structure, from the Latin prefix infra- meaning below, and the English word structure meaning the arrangement of elements of a system) is traditionally thought about as the material substrate of the city, upon which everyday life relies but about which everyday life is unconcerned. Infrastructures are traditionally imagined as the wires, the pipes, the cables, the roads, the freeways: all of which connect the city together but which most of us take for granted. This kind of infrastructural imaginary, what the British geographers Graham and Marvin term networked infrastructures (Graham and Marvin in Splintering urbanism: networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. Routledge, London, 2002), is the way that many civil servants and public officials like to think about infrastructure: i.e. as a collection of material objects which require technical and technocratic planning and coordination. It is the way that infrastructure is often thought about in the everyday public domain: infrastructures are the basic elements of modern urban life, and we only really think about them when they do not function: during load-shedding, or when the sewage pipes burst, or when the pot-holes do not get repaired. In these moments, a common response is to blame the government, whose job we might think it is to maintain the invisible substrate upon which the everyday life of the city depends.

Keywords

Infrastructure Networks Urban life Planning 

References

  1. Amin, A. (2014). Lively infrastructure. Theory, Culture & Society, 31, 137–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anand, N. (2011). Pressure: The politechnics of water supply in Mumbai. Cultural Anthropology, 26(4), 542–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beall, J., Crankshaw, O., & Parnell, S. (2014). Uniting a divided city: Governance and social exclusion in Johannesburg. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beavon, K. S. O. (2004). Johannesburg: The making and shaping of the city (Vol. 9). Unisa Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bennett, J. (2009). Vibrant matter: A political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bond, P. (1998, March). Privatisation, participation and protest in the restructuring of municipal services. Urban Forum, 9(1), 37–75. Springer Netherlands.Google Scholar
  7. Bouman, M. J. (1987). Luxury and control: The urbanity of street lighting in nineteenth-century cities. Journal of Urban History, 14, 7–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chance, K. R. (2015). “Where there is fire, there is politics”: Ungovernability and material life in Urban South Africa. Cultural Anthropology, 30(3), 394–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chatterjee, P. (2004). The politics of the governed: Reflections on popular politics in most of the world. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chikulo, B. C. (2016). “The smoke that calls”: A review of service delivery protests in South Africa 2005–2014. Journal of Human Ecology, 55(1–2), 51–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dean, M. (2010). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. De Boeck, F., & Baloji, S. (2016). Suturing the city. Living together in Congo’s urban worlds. London: Autograph ABP.Google Scholar
  13. Gandy, M. (2004). Rethinking urban metabolism: Water, space and the modern city. City, 8(3), 363–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Graham, S., & Marvin, S. (2002). Splintering urbanism: Networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heynen, N. (2014). Urban political ecology I: The urban century. Progress in Human Geography, 38(4), 598–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Höhne, S. (2015). The birth of the urban passenger: Infrastructural subjectivity and the opening of the New York City subway. City, 19(2–3), 313–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Holston, J., & Appadurai, A. (1999). Introduction: Cities and citizenship. Cities and citizenship, 1.Google Scholar
  18. Kennedy, C., Pincetl, S., & Bunje, P. (2011). The study of urban metabolism and its applications to urban planning and design. Environmental Pollution, 159(8–9), 1965–1973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kooy, M., & Bakker, K. (2008). Technologies of government: Constituting subjectivities, spaces, and infrastructures in colonial and contemporary Jakarta. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32(2), 375–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Larkin, B. (2013). The politics and poetics of infrastructure. Annual Review of Anthropology, 42, 327–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Latour, B. (1990). Technology is society made durable. The Sociological Review, 38, 103–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lawhon, M., Ernstson, H., & Silver, J. (2014). Provincializing urban political ecology: Towards a situated UPE through African urbanism. Antipode, 46(2), 497–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lemanski, C. (2018). Infrastructural citizenship: Spaces of living in Cape Town, South Africa. In The Routledge handbook on spaces of urban politics. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lodge, T., & Mottiar, S. (2016). Protest in South Africa: Motives and meanings. Democratization, 23(5), 819–837.Google Scholar
  25. Mann, M. (2008). Infrastructural power revisited. Studies in Comparative International Development, 43(3–4), 355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McFarlane, C. (2011). Assemblage and critical urbanism. City, 15(2), 204–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pieterse, D. E., & Parnell, S. (2014). Africa’s urban revolution. Zed Books Ltd.Google Scholar
  28. Pieterse, E., Parnell, S., & Haysom, G. (2018). African dreams: Locating urban infrastructure in the 2030 sustainable developmental agenda. Area Development and Policy, 3, 149–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Prestel, J. B. (2015). Hierarchies of happiness: Railway infrastructure and suburban subject formation in Berlin and Cairo around 1900. City, 19(2–3), 322–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rao, V. (2007). Proximate distances: The phenomenology of density in Mumbai. Built Environment, 33(2), 227–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Robbins, P. (2011). Political ecology: A critical introduction (Vol. 16). London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Simone, A. (2004). People as infrastructure: intersecting fragments in Johannesburg. Public culture, 16(3), 407–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Smith, L. (2004). The Murky waters of the second wave of neoliberalism: Corporatization as a service delivery model in Cape Town. Geoforum, 35, 375–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Van Der Westhuizen, J. (2007). Glitz, glamour and the Gautrain: Mega-projects as political symbols. Politikon, 34(3), 333–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. von Schnitzler, A. (2013). Traveling technologies: Infrastructure, ethical regimes, and the materiality of politics in South Africa. Cultural Anthropology, 28(4), 670–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wafer, A. (2012). Discourses of infrastructure and citizenship in post-apartheid Soweto. Urban Forum, 23, 233–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wilhelm-Solomon, M. (2017). The ruinous vitalism of the urban form: Ontological orientations in inner-city Johannesburg. Critical African Studies, 9(2), 174–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental StudiesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations