The Bartlett School of Planning


London Planning Seminar: Towards a Political Economy of Social Infrastructure

06 December 2022, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Road in Crouch End, Haringey

Contesting ‘anti-social infrastructures’ in Haringey, with Dr Amy Horton, Department of Geography, UCL

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Mike Raco


Room 305
26 Bedford Way

Social infrastructure is often understood as shared space and is widely celebrated for enabling social connection. Drawing on research into contested redevelopment in the London borough of Haringey, we argue that such positive outcomes cannot be assumed. We draw attention to critical dimensions of social infrastructures that must be considered in theory and practice. Social infrastructures express distinct visions of ‘the social’, at times premised on the denigration of other forms of collective life as anti-social. They are increasingly central to speculative urban development, serving to procure consent for, and valorise, investment. These unequal economies of social infrastructure are a realm of antagonism over urban citizenship. Social infrastructures need to be recognised as essential networks of social reproduction and survival, especially for diverse working-class communities. Overall, in contrast to influential liberal approaches, we present a situated and intersectional urban political economy approach to social infrastructure.