‘The emerging geographies of infrastructure: regulation, distributed decisions and innovation in governance’
Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting,
San Francisco March 29-April 2, 2016
The aim of this session is to explore the emergence of new approaches and innovation in regulation, business models, and the diverse locations of decision-making in the governance of infrastructure delivery and maintenance at multiple scales (micro-scales like buildings, neighbourhoods; local, national, regional, EU and/or global scales).
Technology advancements enabled by the rapid growth of ICT in infrastructure delivery and maintenance, and the pinch on public resources brought on by austerity measures and the economic crisis, are opening spaces for the introduction of innovative and non-traditional models for creating and capturing value, within companies, society and the market. Innovations are occurring in terms of product, actors and process. Business model innovations can accompany other innovations or occur independently, and are strictly related to the way value is created and captured internally. Changes in business models can alter the development paths of even the most ancient and high-momentum infrastructure systems, potentially leading to new uses and utility. Companies typically only capture a small amount of the value they create, while the value that is created is not always economic (such as learning) but particularly important in infrastructure settings, which are often regulated to ensure these non-economic values are provided to society. Social innovations can create more value and capture public benefits which would otherwise be marginalised or lost through complex governance arrangements. These can take place through local initiatives, e.g. by volunteers as in the case of energy community projects; or in the form of public-private collaborations for funding and operating infrastructures (as in the case of shared information infrastructure).
The fragmented, complex, and disconnected nature of arrangements within and between infrastructure sectors, along with increasing interdependence between sectors, is reshaping business models of infrastructure based services, prompting the emergence of new approaches to regulation and governance. The increasingly interconnected nature of infrastructure sectors is also profoundly reshaping the decision-making process, opening up new sites of political intervention and influence, that pose questions related to the democratic potential (or not) of these new spaces of engagement that go beyond existing institutional arrangements. As such the evolving nature of infrastructure draws attention to a wider range of actors, sites, and technologies through which the direction of governance is influenced.
While regulatory changes are gradually pushing the boundaries of existing arrangements and playing catch up with normative concepts and policy, infrastructure governance has seen more extensive changes through the introduction of more and non-traditional actors, and platforms and means for coordination between (public and private) actors. Across sectors, there are opportunities and requirements for closer, more open and responsive relationships between infrastructure providers and regulators, which challenge existing regulatory practices and the way value is created and captured within infrastructure systems.
We seek submissions for papers on the following topics:
- Network infrastructures (especially transport, railways, ICT, electricity and water)
- Smart cities, smart grids, intelligent infrastructure and infrastructure interdependencies
- Social innovation in infrastructure, innovation in business models, non-traditional business models for infrastructure delivery and maintenance
- New sights of political and democratic engagement with the delivery and maintenance of cross-sectoral infrastructure developments.
- Changes in infrastructure delivery associated with a shift from asset-focused to service-focused delivery; increased cross-sector interaction and changing relationships with(in) supply chains
Deadline for submitting abstracts: Wednesday 21st October 2015
Please email abstracts of 300 words max to the organisers by Wednesday 21st of October 2015. Successful applicants will be contacted by the 23rd of October 2015 and will be expected to pay the registration fee and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 29th 2015.
Ralitsa Hiteva, SPRU, University of Sussex R.Hiteva@sussex.ac.uk
Katherine Lovell, SPRU, University of Sussex K.Lovell@sussex.ac.uk
Phil Johnstone, SPRU, University of Sussex, P.Johnstone@sussex.ac.uk