Table of Contents

Inverse Infrastructures

Inverse Infrastructures

Disrupting Networks from Below

Edited by Tineke M. Egyedi and Donna C. Mehos

The notion of inverse infrastructures – that is, bottom-up, user-driven, self-organizing networks – gives us a fresh perspective on the omnipresent infrastructure systems that support our economy and structure our way of living. This fascinating book considers the emergence of inverse infrastructures as a new phenomenon that will have a vast impact on consumers, industry and policy. Using a wide range of theories, from institutional economics to complex adaptive systems, it explores the mechanisms and incentives for the rise of these alternatives to large-scale infrastructures and points to their potential disruptive effect on conventional markets and governance models.

Chapter 9: Decentral Water Supply and Sanitation

Aad Correljé and Thorsten Schuetze

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, technology and ict


Aad Correljé and Thorsten Schuetze INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we address the phenomenon of inverse infrastructures in areas with and without centralized infrastructures for water and sanitation (WSS). In the industrialized world as well as in emerging economies and less developed countries, we can observe a variety of stand-alone infrastructures for the supply of water and sanitation services. Whether or not in the presence of centralized systems, citizens do construct or purchase their own facilities to harvest and store water and to discharge wastewater. Many of these facilities are individually owned and used, but sometimes they provide WSS services to groups of users. While stand-alone solutions, at times traditional WSS systems, are often the result of bottom-up individual initiatives, the decentralization of WSS infrastructures also can be the result of top-down policies by authorities. Furthermore, they can be actively discouraged, or even declared illegal. Sometimes these decentralized stand-alone solutions for WSS are based on long-standing local traditions, but they also incorporate modern high tech approaches, applying the most recent insights. In the context of this book, the question arises how this variety of decentral water supply and sanitation solutions can contribute to our understanding of inverse infrastructures. As Egyedi, Mehos and Vree write in the introduction of this book, the notion of inverse infrastructures describes a mode of decentralized infrastructure development that contrasts with pre-existing largescale centralized infrastructures often controlled and funded top-down by governments. Inverse approaches for the construction, operation, maintenance and management of infrastructure systems are characterized as...

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