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Building Inequality: Infrastructure and Intra-urban Inequality in the Capitalist City

Part of the Sustainable Development Goals Series book series (SDGS)

Abstract

The capitalist city is a colossal productive force in permanent construction and contention. On the one hand, urban infrastructure must be constantly adapted to support the relentlessly shifting urban-based economic activities. On the other hand, achieving the goals of sustainable urban development will require profound infrastructural transitions. Proponents of infrastructural change in the Global South should bear in mind that, however well-intentioned, infrastructural transitions are inevitably embedded within urban political economy. Infrastructure policies have distributional effects, and the political economy of infrastructural transitions can produce inequitable urban outcomes. Within this context, this chapter argues that overcoming infrastructural deficiencies can sometimes come at the cost of increasing intra-urban inequality. An analytical framework to study mechanisms of infrastructural exclusion comprised of four categories of analysis is put forward: lack of physical access, expenditure relative to income, institutional constraints, and social stratification barriers. By doing so, the chapter seeks to contribute to a more comprehensive body of literature on urban political economy based on the experience from the Global South.

Keywords

  • Capitalism
  • Capitalist city
  • Urban infrastructure
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Infrastructural transition
  • Global South
  • Urban political economy
  • Inequality
  • Intra-urban inequality
  • Analytical framework
  • Infrastructural exclusion

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López-García, D. (2022). Building Inequality: Infrastructure and Intra-urban Inequality in the Capitalist City. In: Iossifova, D., Gasparatos, A., Zavos, S., Gamal, Y., Long, Y. (eds) Urban Infrastructuring. Sustainable Development Goals Series. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-8352-7_8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-8352-7_8

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