CfP AAG 2022 NYC – Rethinking the multiplicity of urban infrastructure

Adriana de La Peña Espinosa Call for Papers


Simone Vegliò, Institute for Urban Research, Malmö University.

Nikolai A. Alvarado, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Within what has recently been described as a global “infrastructural turn” in the social sciences (Graham and McFarlane 2015; Dodson 2017), urban infrastructure has captured the attention of scholars and activists alike in terms of the multiple meanings of infrastructures, including, but beyond, the inert and the material.  At global and regional scales, rapid urbanizing processes have required a vast network of infrastructure to articulate and solidify the new “planetary” condition of the urban fabric (Brenner and Schmid 2015), mobilizing a wide array of neo-extractive, logistical, and financial operations across the globe (Mezzadra and Neilson 2019). Locally, this proliferation of urban infrastructures has created multifarious political conflicts, negotiations, and exclusions, as part of a “splintering urbanism” that reflects the violence that infrastructure can inflict on people and communities across urban space (Graham and Marvin 2001; Rodgers and O’Neill 2012). As such, scholars have turned their attention to the social and political processes surrounding the provision, omission, and accessibility to infrastructure (McFarlane and Rutherford 2008; Graham and McFarlane 2015), including how various types of infrastructures work as “a set of materials and as a discursive object in urban government” (McFarlane 2008, p. 415). Lastly, as sites of political contestation to acquire basic urban rights, infrastructures have provided the possibility for the negotiation and crafting of alternative (urban) citizenship arrangements.

This session aims to reflect on the constant making and re-making of urban infrastructure, considering both its material and non-material expressions, shedding light also on the often inextricable connections between the two. By explicitly referring to its multiplicity, this session’s objective is to build a dialogue that explores the various articulations of urban infrastructure globally, investigating the manifold forms, actions, and contestations that constitutively define it. In addition to being open to exploring historical perspectives, the session also aims to create a dialogue that embraces the methodological aspects in the study of urban infrastructure, discussing potential strategies, objectives, and challenges.

We invite papers that reflect on critical approaches to urban infrastructure in themes such as, but not limited to:

  • “Planetary” landscapes of urban infrastructure
  • Historical “making” of urban infrastructure
  • Colonial/Postcolonial geographies of urban infrastructure
  • Urban infrastructures of extractivism
  • Urban infrastructures of logistics
  • Infrastructures as sites of politics, contestation and citizenship
  • Urban infrastructure during and after covid-19/ Infrastructures of Care
  • People as Infrastructure
  • Urban surveillance and sovereignty
  • Digital infrastructure
  • Innovative methodologies in urban infrastructure

If you are interested in participating in this panel, please submit an abstract of up to 250 words to Simone Vegliò ( and Nikolai A. Alvarado ( by 15 October 2021. The session will be held in person, but virtual presentations may also be considered. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or clarification. Accepted submissions will be notified by 17 October.

All accepted participants will be required to: 1) register for the conference; 2) submit their abstract through the AAG website (; 3) send their PIN to the organizers by 19 October 2021.


Brenner, N., and Schmid, C. (2015) Towards a new epistemology of the urban. CITY, 19(2-3), 151–182.

Dodson, J. (2017). The global infrastructure turn and urban practice. Urban Policy and Research, 35(1), 87-92.

Graham, S., and S. Marin. 2001. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. New York: Routledge.

Graham, S., and McFarlane, C. (Eds.). (2015). Infrastructural lives: Urban infrastructure in context. New York: Routledge.

Mcfarlane, C. (2008). Governing the Contaminated City: Infrastructure and Sanitation in Colonial and Post‐Colonial Bombay. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(2), 415-435.

Mcfarlane, C., and Rutherford, J. (2008). Political Infrastructures: Governing and Experiencing the Fabric of the City. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(2):363-374.

Mezzadra, S., and Neilson, B. (2019). The Politics of Operations: Excavating Contemporary Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press.

Rodgers, D., and O’Neill, B. (2012). Infrastructural violence: Introduction to the special issue. Ethnography, 13(4), 401-412.