Handbook of Urban Geography
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Handbook of Urban Geography

Edited by Tim Schwanen and Ronald van Kempen

This collection brings together the latest thinking in urban geography. It provides a comprehensive overview of topical issues and draws on experiences from across the world. Chapters have been prepared by leading researchers in the field and cover themes as diverse as urban economies, inequalities and diversity, conflicts and politics, ecology and sustainability, and information technologies. The Handbook offers a valuable resource for students and researchers interested in cities and the urban in geography and across the wider social sciences.
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Chapter 10: Urban infrastructures: four tensions and their effects

Tim Schwanen and Denver V. Nixon


Like other fields, Urban Geography has experienced an ‘infrastructural turn’ over the past two decades or so. This is in part because of the large interest in, and sometimes controversy over, infrastructures among state authorities, supranational bodies, businesses, civil society organizations and other actors. Another driver behind the infrastructural turn has been the realization that infrastructures offer a useful and effective lens on the contemporary urban condition, nature–society relations, everyday life and experience in the city, and politics and governance in specific spaces and times. This chapter reviews the sprawling literature about infrastructures in Urban Geography through discussion of four tensions that cut across it: between visibility and invisibility, connection and disconnection, standardisation and differentiation and normalcy and disruption. It then illustrates these infrastructural tensions through a focus on cycling infrastructures in London and São Paulo.

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