Living Infrastructure

  • Kai ReimersEmail author
  • Robert B. Johnston
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


Infrastructure is widely regarded merely as a material (lifeless) system that brings together the activities of diverse practices. In contrast to this view, we propose that when infrastructure provides a site where practices are held at once both near and apart, life under the influence of these practices is ‘lived to the full’. We call the resultant whole ‘living infrastructure’ to denote that it is both infrastructure for living and infrastructure that ‘lives’. The key idea is that a living infrastructure becomes the site where an opening between certain regions of life, which share some concern, happens. We will argue that such infrastructure is an on-going achievement of becoming, which requires nurturing and vigilance to maintain its continued productivity: otherwise it will cease to ‘live’. We present an empirical case from the German healthcare environment—the Federal Unified Medication Plan for medication therapy safety. We argue in detail that this is a nascent living infrastructure providing a site where a productive opening ‘happens’ between multiple practices involved in medication therapy safety. We analyse this ‘happening’ to establish how this opening took hold, how it was kept open, and how it was kept productive.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.The University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  3. 3.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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