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Infrastructure governance in the post-networked city: state-led, high-tech sanitation in Addis Ababa’s condominium housing

Cirolia, Liza Rose, Hailu, Tesfaye, King, Julia ORCID: 0000-0002-2591-658X, da Cruz, Nuno F. ORCID: 0000-0003-3381-6359 and Beall, Jo (2021) Infrastructure governance in the post-networked city: state-led, high-tech sanitation in Addis Ababa’s condominium housing. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. ISSN 2399-6544

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Identification Number: 10.1177/23996544211037063

Abstract

Ethiopia’s mass-scale subsidized housing delivery programme has driven the rapid expansion of middle-income, mid-rise settlements on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, requiring the provision of infrastructure to newly developed areas. In the case of the Kotari housing project, established sanitation systems were deemed inappropriate for the site, resulting in the deployment of novel technology, a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR). Such decentralised technologies contribute to the heterogenous infrastructure configurations which characterise Addis Ababa’s sanitation landscape, reflected not only in material configurations but also in how they are governed. In this paper, we use the concept of ‘infrastructure interfaces’ as an analytical device to identify the key material connection points in the system. Working across scales, we scrutinise the governance arrangements at these critical junctures: the household, the block, the condominium, and the city. Our analysis challenges established understandings of infrastructural heterogeneity driven by the private sector, either through financialized elite infrastructures or informal survivalist practices. In Kotari, the state is the driver and the target is the lower middle class. Centring the state in these infrastructure configurations provides nuance to our understanding of how heterogeneity emerges. Our methodological approach accounts for governance at various scales, providing fresh insights into the relationality of infrastructure, particularly the human/technology interface and infrastructural failures. The case shows the importance of transcending binary readings of infrastructure configurations, such as on/off grid, state/private and formal/informal. Future work on the post-network city must go beyond simply denigrating or valorising alternative modes of service delivery.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/epc
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Sociology
LSE Cities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2021 17:39
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 03:22
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/111053

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