Disrupting Networks from Below
Edited by Tineke M. Egyedi and Donna C. Mehos
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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