The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Institutional paths in service and infrastructure production

This sub-group is concerned with two interrelated questions. On the one hand, it focuses on a deeper understanding of the spatiality of urban poverty and its relationship with the access to infrastructure and services, and on examining how unserved urban and peri-urban dwellers face the challenge of access to essential services and resources in the increasingly common scenario of 'urbanisation without infrastructure'.

It devotes particular attention to the peri-urban context, characterised not only by rapidly expanding unmet needs but also with a high level of experimentation in terms of the direct involvement of the poor in service provision, which fall under the notion of co-production. A central intellectual and practical preoccupation of this sub-group is to go beyond the public/private dichotomy that continues to be at the centre of the debates on service and infrastructure production, particularly in relation to water and sanitation provision in urban areas.

On the other hand, it investigates the scope of co-production in service delivery to activate the transformative capacity of the social and political practices of the poor beyond the improvement of service delivery. In other words, to explore the ways in which co-production can promote inclusive forms of state-citizen interaction, enabling the entitlements of the poor as citizens, and valuing their knowledge vis-à-vis that of professionals. Conversely, this group is concerned with understanding the ways in which co-production can be misused, insofar as demanding the engagement of the less well-off in society to produce services to which they are entitled as citizens.

A further focus of this sub-group concerns the 'hydric (in)justices' embedded in the ways cities appropriate and metabolise natural resources through techno-structures that often produce and reproduce unequal and unsustainable outcomes.


Prof Adriana Allen 
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Dr Vanesa Castan Broto
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Prof Julio D Davila
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Pascale Hofmann
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Caren Levy
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Etienne Von Bertrab
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Rosalina Babourkova
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