Infrastructure, Equity and Urban Planning: A Just Process for the Allocation of Benefits and Burdens

  • Daniel DurrantEmail author
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)


This chapter asks first what is infrastructure or more importantly infrastructures as the physical artefacts and technologies are inextricably intertwined with complex economic, social and ecological systems. This is central to the first dimension of equity considered, distributional equity. Infrastructures allocate different ‘goods’ spatially, and to population groups therefore to understand the impacts of infrastructures upon distributional equity it is important to understand what exactly they are and what goods they produce. Second, planning and the planning of infrastructures highlight the importance of procedural equity and equality of input into the process. The next section examines definitions of equity and their application to urban planning and urban infrastructure. This draws upon three philosophical analyses of the concept and ways in which it has been recently applied to develop principles that could reshape the way infrastructure is planned and provided. A framework is developed to illustrate the ways in which the planning of urban infrastructure might be used to establish more equitable outcomes. This is based upon a vertical axis along which procedural inputs influence the way the planning process allocates distributional outputs. These are distributed along a horizontal axis of benefits and burdens with the planning process used as a means of establishing minimum and maximum permissible thresholds. As the examples of infrastructure that has been planned and delivered specifically to address issues of social equity are few and far between, the chapter is interspersed with examples of where some dimensions have been addressed either explicitly or indirectly.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bartlett School of PlanningUniversity College LondonBloomsburyUK

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