Territoriality and the National Infrastructure System
Chapter 7: Social infrastructure
Social infrastructure is not really an issue that has been a focal point of academic examination of NISs. Indeed, as defined at the outset of this book, social infrastructure would not normally be considered as part of the NIS with it being treated as detached from economic infrastructure. The components of social infrastructure have traditionally been treated as localised assets serving local needs, and where the national context of these facilities is often implied, indirect or intangible and whose networking occurs through the utilisation of formal networked economic infrastructures (notably transport and information) (Neuman 2006). Conventionally, there is a tendency to use social infrastructure as a catch-all term for elements of state provision that promote social/economic cohesion and control through the collective provision of social goods. As such, these exist – at least in part – to facilitate welfarism, where social (in this context, as noted by Rose and Miller 1992) refers to the location of specific problems. In this chapter, the focus is the extent to which social infrastructure operates as an enabling component of economic infrastructure through supporting its operation and the realisation of the infrastructural mandate through the conduit of social and human capital. The easiest conceptualisation of social infrastructure is as a sub-set of the NIS that involves the establishment and maintenance of those physical assets that allow for the provision of social services which facilitate the formation, development and maintenance of social relationships. This includes a wide range of assets that are both reactive and proactive
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