Keynote 3: Assessing Critical Infrastructure: A Regulatory Perspective on the Power and Gas Sector
The power and gas sector is one of the essential industries, as its failure on a large scale may endanger the life and health of people and causes a significant disruption of social and economic activities. Consequently, numerous entities in the power and gas sector, such as network or large-scale power plant operators, are classified as critical infrastructure. Implementing an efficient regulation, e.g., the definition of security requirements, for the actual critical infrastructure necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the respective sector. However, owing to (i) efforts on avoiding climate change and (ii) the rapid progress in the information and communication technologies, we observe a fundamental restructuring of the power and gas sector. During this transition, a key challenge will be to ensure that the critical infrastructure will remain in any case sufficiently secured against external disruptions. To this end, this Keynote talk discusses, how the Bundesnetzagentur as the national regulatory authority continuously evaluates and develops the regulatory framework, ensuring the secure operation of the power and gas sector today and in future.
Repoliticising Infrastructure? Intermediary Power and Everyday Governance Practices in Transforming Neighbourhood Water Provisioning: The Case of a Small Town in India
This article presents the contested, negotiated and situated nature of everyday governance in smalltown contexts as practices of intermediaries and social relations produce and mediate between nonnetworked and networked infrastructure artefacts to shape access to water and uses in daily life. I situate the analysis in Baruipur Municipality, a peripheral and rapidly urbanising small town in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, India. Plagued by groundwater arsenic, Baruipur’s municipal administration and the state government has declared the urgency to expand and consolidate its pipeline network that supplies treated surface water. However, the local and state government’s push in this process threatens to reconfigure the town’s existing configurations of heterogeneous, fragmented and incrementally-built infrastructure. I argue that the shifts in infrastructure, has led to new forms of power coalitions, tensions and contradictions around the diverse infrastructure configurations. The article presents empirical cases based on in-depth qualitative fieldwork highlighting the intermediary role of Councillors and non-state actors, viz. party ‘boys’ and members of neighbourhood youth clubs regulating formal hydraulics and the fragile, unstable relations of private water provisioning. I analyse and conceptualise “everyday governance” and engage it with the Urban Political Ecology (UPE) framework in this study to respond to the call for more attention to research on governance within UPE (Cornea, Véron and Zimmer 2017). This article attempts to make a broader case by showing that shifts in infrastructure, can at times, produce, impose and reinforce the differentiated socio-political positions and power of local actors vis-à-vis others through an intermediary role.
Digital Transformation: Rethinking the Governance of Cyber Risks at the Port of Rotterdam
The process of digital transformation provides many new opportunities to enhance the productivity,
efficiency, and sustainability of seaports (Heilig et al. 2017). However, this process together with the role
of seaports as critical infrastructures also increases the vulnerability for emerging cyberthreat. Ports
constitute likely targets for cyberattacks given the level of integration of different devices, agents and
activities, together with an increasing connectivity between different ports and with other critical
infrastructure systems (Ahokas et al. 2017). This raises the question how the vulnerability of ports against
cyber-attacks can be reduced. Since 2017 the port of Rotterdam has adopted a collaborative governance
approach of cyber resilience (van Erp 2017), which resulted in the launch of a Port Cyber Resilience
Program meant to raise awareness among port users and strengthen public-private partnerships.
However, this approach is not without its challenges such as a lack of a governmental regulatory
framework, unaligned cybersecurity standards, or uncoordinated response to incidents in a complex
institutional environment (van Erp 2017). Drawing upon crisis management studies, organizational and
institutional theory (Christensen et al. 2016; Ostrom 2011; Young 2010), this contribution examines the
coordination arrangements for cyber resilience within and across vertical, horizontal and territorial
dimensions to elucidate the strengths and ongoing challenges of governing cyber risks through
collaborative governance in seaports. Based on a case study analysis of the port of Rotterdam, we outline
the main characteristics of the collaborative governance of cyber risks, before illustrating the factors that
contribute to opportunities and challenges for the effective governance of cyber risks. Lastly, we discuss
some comparative features of this collaborative governance approach and the theoretical and policy
implications of our results.
Keywords: critical infrastructure; governance; transformation; digitalization; seaports
- Ahokas, Jenna; Kiiski, Tuomas; Malmsten, Jarmo; Ojala, Lauri (2017): Cybersecurity in ports : a
conceptual approach. With assistance of TUHH Universitätsbibliothek.
- Christensen, Tom; Danielsen, Ole Andreas; Laegreid, Per; Rykkja, Lise H. (2016): Comparing coordination
structures for crisis management in six countries. In Public Admin 94 (2), pp. 316–332. DOI:
- Heilig, Leonard; Lalla-Ruiz, Eduardo; Voß, Stefan (2017): Digital transformation in maritime ports:
analysis and a game theoretic framework. In Netnomics 18 (2-3), pp. 227–254. DOI: 10.1007/s11066-017-
Ostrom, Elinor (2011): Background on the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework. In Policy
Studies Journal 39 (1), pp. 7–27. DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.2010.00394.x.
- van Erp, Judith (2017): New governance of corporate cybersecurity: a case study of the petrochemical
industry in the Port of Rotterdam. In Crime Law Soc Change 68 (1-2), pp. 75–93. DOI: 10.1007/s10611-
- Young, Oran R. (2010): Institutional dynamics: Resilience, vulnerability and adaptation in environmental
and resource regimes. In Global Environmental Change 20 (3), pp. 378–385. DOI:
Commoning Infrastructures: Governing the Maintenance of Civic Roads in Sweden
While the modern road networks together constitute the largest ever human-built infrastructure to
underwrite the consumption of fossil fuels, these networks are essential in everyday life and the
maintenance of these are significant to modern societies (Graham & Thrift, 2007). In Sweden,
public and private road infrastructures are owned and maintained by the state, municipalities,
corporations or individual land-owners, though there is also a vast civic road network that is
governed by a myriad of small associations. The civic road network constitutes about half of the
total road network in Sweden (Blomkvist, 2010).
Drawing upon the literature on social studies of infrastructure maintenance and commoning (cf.
Ostrom, 1990; Graham & Thrift, 2007; Heinmiller 2009) this paper investigates how and in what
ways civic road associations in Sweden self-govern the maintenance of civic roads against the
backdrop of climate change, expanding urban sprawl, broadband infrastructures, and (new)
knowledge about road maintenance.
Our study suggests that, due to financial constraints, civic road infrastructures have in places been
under-maintained or allowed to decline, which has raised concerns over equal access to the road
networks. Both climate change and urban sprawl have also put a pressure on the associations’
ability to maintain the roads. Heinmiller (2009) suggest that collective action among resource-users
is a basic element for successful common pool governance. While civic road associations engage
in commoning, the maintenance and repair of civic roads also means that the associations have to
grapple with new national and municipal demands on broadband infrastructure and water drainage.
Our study concludes by discussing how and in what ways the civic road associations engage in
- Blomkvist, P. (2010). Managing common pool resources: road keeping and the dilemma of the commons in Swedish history, 1200-2010. Stockholm: Division of Industrial Dynamics, Royal Institute of Technology
- Graham, S., & Thrift, N. (2007). Out of order. Understanding repair and maintenance. Theory, Culture & Society, 24:3, 1-25
- Heinmiller, R.T. (2009). Path dependency and collective action in common pool governance, International Journal of the Commons, 3:1, 121-147
- Ostrom, E. (1990). The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge: University Press
- Jens Alm, PhD
- Alexander Paulsson, PhD
Polyphony Without Power: The Case Study of River das Velhas Committee
What has been the role of participatory governance institutions in transforming infrastructure systems? Can they transform infrastructure or not? This paper draws on the findings of research on the Rio das Velhas Basin Committees, Minas Gerais. It is part of the Tossib Project Towards Sustainable Sanitation in India and Brazil (https://susinfra.com/tossib)
During the period of Brazilian re-democratisation in 1980, many instances of governance were created in the country, encouraged by international organisations, but also by the demand of social movements, professional sectors, academics and State sectors themselves. Channels were created involving public and private sectors in many areas of public policy such as: health, education, social assistance, environment. Related to sanitation and electricity infrastructure systems, the river basin committees were created, with the participation of the State, civil society and public and private users.
Based on literature review and data collections, our argument is a critical perspective, that shows how news actors have been incorporated into these committees, new voices have been recognised and amplified (like civil society organizations, sectors of States, small cities etc.), but the capacity of the committees to actually play a transformative role in infrastructure is still low. They are somewhat routine and bureaucratic spaces. Public resources are lacking, but there also seems to be a lack of a more effective involvement of civil society sectors in the identification of sanitation problems and possible solutions. Sectors of the state concentrate too much power and are not very open to innovations.
|Ana Claudia Teixeira
Towards a Heterotemporal Understanding of ‘Unmaking’ High-Carbon Infrastructures
Time plays a central role in (re)imagining low-carbon energy futures. Whether through apocalyptic visions or deadlines for action-taking, characteristic for these imaginaries is an often unspoken, assumption of linear time with neatly identified interim targets and future endpoints. In this paper, we propose studying low-carbon transitions through the lens of heterotemporalities helps us problematise the ‘unmaking’ of high-carbon materialities by examining heterogeneous temporalities underpinning various processes of unmaking. More specifically, we explore these heterotemporalities from two distinct, but interrelated scholarly vantage points associated with unmaking: one concerned with ruination, namely how future expectations of decarbonised societies turn material life-worlds of today into tomorrow’s ruins; and the other focused on lingering, bringing to the fore the multiple ways in which these high-carbon materialities of the past/present are folded into the future. By doing so, we argue that imaginaries of low-carbon futures are not constrained to unitary and linear timescales concerned with bringing things into being or phasing them out. Rather, low-carbon (energy) futures necessitate processes of both making and unmaking that entail heterogeneous experiences of time suspended between memory and abandonment, nostalgia and neglect, finality and regeneration.
- Dr. Bregje van Veelen
- Dr. Magdalena Kuchler
Changing the System, Changing the City? Infrastructural Transformation in Leipzig and its Spatial Implications after the “Wende”
The infrastructures in the city and region of Leipzig have undergone a profound change since the 1980s: Formerly critical sub-sectors of infrastructure systems became superfluous (like the lignite sector in the field of energy infrastructures), while others gained in importance (e.g. transport infrastructures, especially supra-regional ones). These developments had far-reaching effects – on the material and immaterial components of these socio-technical systems as well as on the city and its spatial order or urban everyday practices that are shaped by infrastructures, such as mobility behaviour.
It seems likely to see the cause of these profound changes in the epochal break of 1989/90 and the economic and political restart of Eastern Germany that came with it after the sudden end of the GDR and the socialist system.
But this is only partly the case: many of the changes that started in 1989/90 can be traced back further in time. The foundations of some trajectories go back to the 1980s and beyond – but at the same time parts of the infrastructure systems also resisted change during that time, or it was limited to small, continuous adjustments in the system. Thus, the transformation processes did not suddenly start in 1989/90, but they accelerated. This raises the question of the temporality of transformations - when do they begin and from when can they be considered complete?
The case study of Leipzig thus shows that infrastructures are characterised by path dependencies, inertia and obduracy as well as by changeability and dynamic. By drawing on this case study, the presentation wants to explore the question under which circumstances one or the other becomes the dominant feature of an infrastructure, which spatial changes result in infrastructural transformations and how the aspect of temporality can help delineate transformation from continuous incremental change.
Infrastructuring: The Agency of Infrastructural Formations in the Transformation of Spatial Patterns and Rhythms of Everyday Life
This paper suggests the notion of infrastructuring as the transformative agency of complex infrastructural formations that shape urban form, everyday life and longer-term development trajectories. Infrastructural formations are here understood as intentionally or unintentionally created to sustain or ameliorate human life. They comprise humans and their agency, technology, various kinds of resources, material objects and ecological systems at and across different scales.
Infrastructural formations act through everyday human-infrastructure interactions to structure spatial patterns and rhythms of everyday life. For instance, the (non-) availability of functional infrastructure within the home or neighbourhood determines how, when and where people access infrastructure outside the home or neighbourhood. Interactions with infrastructure take place according to the availability or accessibility of infrastructure at certain times of the day, week, month or year. They structure where and when other activities, such as eating, socialising or shopping, take place, thus acting to structure rhythms of everyday life.
Interventions into technical infrastructures, necessarily lead to changes in spatial patterns and rhythms of everyday life. For instance, transformations in built form, such as the replacement of older low-rise neighbourhoods with high-rise compounds, suggest the replacement of shared community sanitation with access to private toilets inside the home. Older low-rise neighbourhoods may rely on shared infrastructure outside individual homes and human-infrastructure interactions may be linked with other activities, such as participating in and fostering relationships with people, nature and the built environment. In high-rise compounds, however, the spatiality of human-infrastructure interactions is confined to private toilets within the boundaries of home. The replacement of one technical infrastructure with another thus works to alter, possibly even truncate, existing relationships with people, nature and the built environment.
In addition to altering social relations, infrastructuring as the agency of infrastructural formations at larger scales transforms the built and natural environment in the short and long term. The expansion of networked infrastructures to provide wider or universal coverage or ‘modernisation’ of technical infrastructures considered out of date is often associated with increased extraction of resources, such as energy or water, from remote locations and at scales which cannot be considered sustainable. This carries implications for the health and wellbeing of humans and environments removed spatially (located in remote locations) and in time (future generations). In this way, infrastructuring may re-institute social, spatial and environmental injustices over time.
|Dr. Deljana Iossifova
Infrastructure’s Temporal Modalities: A Framework for Analysis
Work on the ‘politics of infrastructure’ has done much to unsettle the notion that urban infrastructures are staid or neutral physical artefacts and networks. As adaptive spatial fixes and contested political objects, infrastructure systems are always in a state of becoming. In this paper, I foreground the temporal dimensions of urban infrastructure to problematize how we conceptualize urban space, politics, and social practice. My analysis centers on three core temporal modalities over which infrastructure unfolds. First, urban infrastructures can be theorized through periodization strategies that establish epochs grounded in dominant material and governance technologies. Periods are never simply given or free from political assumptions but achieve analytical significance through the exploration of change over complex narratives over multiple timescales. Second, urban infrastructures are planned, governed, and lived through often conflicting cycles, including those relating to electoral politics, policy formation, financial innovations, and the properties of construction materials and ecological systems. Infrastructures have their own life cycles: they are conceived, planned, constructed, decline, decay, and reach obsolescence – each of which raises distinct questions about funding, maintenance, societal values, and development lock-ins. Third, urban infrastructures are animated through the rhythms of the 24-hour city. Here, urban difference is produced through repetition. Minimal differences of everyday life can serve as the foundation for realizing maximal difference that illuminate divergent experiences of gender, class, race, sexuality – and the possibilities of transcending their inherent inequalities. With this, the paper highlights the importance of incorporating temporal analyses in the on-going ‘infrastructure turn’ in urban studies.