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Incremental infrastructures: material improvisation and social collaboration across post-colonial Accra

Silver, Jonathan (2014) Incremental infrastructures: material improvisation and social collaboration across post-colonial Accra. Urban Geography, 35 (6). pp. 788-804. ISSN 0272-3638

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Identification Number: 10.1080/02723638.2014.933605


Approaching the informal construction and extension of infrastructures through the terrain of what I term "the incremental" opens up new platforms of analysis for post-colonial urban systems. This refers to ad hoc actions on the part of slum dwellers to connect to energy networks or carve out informal living spaces. I argue that incrementalism is produced and subsequently secured and scaled through material configurations that seek to test and prefigure new forms of infrastructure and accompanying resource flows. I use a case study of energy and housing systems in a low-income neighborhood in Accra to define and examine these incremental infrastructures. I examine shifts in the Accra energy network as urban dwellers rework connections to flows of electricity. I also consider the material adjustment of housing and the role of cooperation in responding to threats of demolition and displacement. Together, incremental infrastructures and the ways that they are constituted articulate a prefigurative politics in which residents seek to generate access to new infrastructural worlds.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors © CC BY 3.0
Divisions: LSE Cities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2014 11:14
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:11
Projects: RES-066-27-0002, Dnr: 250-2010-1372; WOK-UE
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Ways of Knowing Urban Ecologies

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