2008-06-09Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21580
‘Cold spots’ of Urban Infrastructure
‘Shrinking’ Processes in Eastern Germany and the Modern Infrastructural Ideal
This paper explores the unfamiliar, but increasingly prevalent problem of overcapacity in urban infrastructure systems in regions subject to dramatic socio-economic restructuring. Taking the case of water supply and wastewater disposal systems in Eastern Germany as an example, it examines firstly how infrastructure overcapacities have emerged since reunification in 1990, resulting from sharply declining water consumption in the wake of ‘shrinking’ processes but also from infrastructure expansion. Secondly, the paper analyses what impact chronic overcapacity is having on the governance of water infrastructure systems. This empirical analysis is framed conceptually in terms of the current debate on the changing relationship between infrastructures and the localities they serve. It assesses specifically how far and in what ways the phenomenon of overcapacity in technical networks resonates with the ‘splintering urbanism’ thesis developed by Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin. It argues that the serious technical and economic problems posed by overcapacity are intensifying spatial disparities in service quality and price and – more fundamentally –are challenging the supply-driven ‘modern infrastructural ideal’ of universal and equitable water services.
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Timothy Moss (2008): ‘Cold spots’ of Urban Infrastructure: ‘Shrinking’ Processes in Eastern Germany and the Modern Infrastructural Ideal. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(2), pp.436-451, which has been published in final form at doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2427.2008.00790.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.