What are the “politics of infrastructure"? What does that phrase mean?
It means several different things. First, it involves the recognition that
the built environment, whether it's built out of tarmac or concrete or
code, has political effects. I was joking earlier about reshaping the
Forum, but I shouldn't have joked quite so much, because the fact that the
Forum was round encouraged one kind of debate.
Think about an auditorium where someone sits onstage and the audience
watches, versus a Quaker meeting where everyone sits in a circle. They're
So, structure matters. Design is absolutely critical. Design is the process
by which the politics of one world become the constraints on another. How
are those constraints built? What are its effects on political life?
To study the politics of infrastructure is to study the political ideas
that get built into the design process, and the infrastructure’s impact on
the political possibilities of the communities that engage it. ↱