Hi colleagues,


Hope everyone’s doing well as the year comes to a close. Please find below a call for participation in a workshop on building democratic, progressive and collective urban infrastructures that a group of us are organising in Sydney in Feb 2020. Theresa Enright from University of Toronto will be joining us for the workshop and a keynote lecture. Abstracts are due by Jan 15, if you’re working on these issues, we’d love to hear from you!





Common Infrastructure


A workshop on building democratic, progressive and collective urban infrastructures

19-20 February 2020, The University of Sydney


Call for presenters


In urban policy and scholarly arenas, there has been an ‘infrastructural turn’. This is evidenced by a growing global emphasis on financing, building and maintenance of the physical systems that enable flows of people and things in cities, and research about their political economy, social constitution and uneven outcomes. The global infrastructural turn is nowhere more evident than in Sydney and New South Wales (NSW), where the state government has overseen one of the biggest infrastructural transformations globally. In this context, it is particularly important to scrutinise relations between the private and public sphere – reading for hybridity, contradiction, and progressive potential in financing, delivery and governance, and what this means for access and equity in cities.


In this workshop we will explore ‘common infrastructure’. By this, we mean three things: first, the growing recognition of the interdependencies of physical and social forms of infrastructures; second, the blurring boundaries between state and market in producing and governing infrastructures, and; third, the relations between private and collective costs and benefits. This workshop will interrogate these intersections in order to produce insights into new hybrids, physical-social practices, and collective goods and services that seek a more progressive politics of urban infrastructure. We invite emerging and established scholars from geography, urban studies, and cognate disciplines to critically examine the potential for more democratic and common infrastructure and offer new conceptual and practical policy ideas for making infrastructures more economically, environmentally, and socially just.


Presenters are invited to submit a paper title, authors, and abstract of 200-300 words by 15 January 2020 to sophie.webber@sydney.edu.au. We aim to reply to potential presenters within one week of this date. There may be stipends for early career researchers who do not have other access to funding to travel to the workshop; please indicate if you would like to be considered for this funding with your abstract submission. Please direct any questions or informal expressions of interest to Sophie Webber at the above email address.


The outcomes of the workshop will be: an exploration of common infrastructure for progressive potential in and beyond Sydney including through a panel of practitioners and activists; improved understanding of the relations between social and physical infrastructure, the hybrid forms that govern them and the scales and effects of these configurations; a collective, outwardly-oriented publication developed by the Sydney Urban Crew (and interested contributors); and a podcast series on the City Road Podcast https://cityroadpod.org/.


The workshop is supported with funding from the Geographical Society of New South Wales. https://www.geogsoc.org.au/


Convenors: Marilu Melo Zurita, Naama Blatman-Thomas, Kurt Iveson, Sophie Webber and the Sydney Urban Crew