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Chapter 1: Introduction > URBAN PLANNING AND THE INFRASTRUCTURAL IDEAL OF THE I... - Pg. 3

Introduction URBAN PLANNING AND THE INFRASTRUCTURAL IDEAL OF THE INTEGRATED, STANDARDIZED CITY During the period between 1850 and 1960, the growth of state-regulated network monopolies, particularly in Western cities, supported a transi- tion from the older compact commercial city to the new industrial metropolis with a strong core and a network of residential suburbs (Graham & Marvin, 2001). Across Western cities, small, fragmented islands of infrastructure were inte- grated towards standardized, regulated networks designed to deliver predictable, dependable ser- vices across the metropolis (Tarr & Dupuy, 1988; Cox & Jonas, 1993). Scientific management, rational organization and the mass production of standardized goods were part of the infrastructural ideal of the integrat- ed, standardized city (Giannopoulos & Gillepsie, 1993). This was a new organizational philosophy based on the principles of throughput, centralized control, coordination and diversification (Preston, 1990 cited in Guy, Graham, & Marvin, 1997). In turn, this required the construction of national, public infrastructures for interconnected high- ways, rail, communications and energy systems. Efforts at technological standardization go as back as 1761, with cities like London and Stockholm attempting to regularize the design and paving of street spaces and to systematize the delivery of street lighting and the naming of streets (Ogborn, 1999; Whiteman, 1990). Similar efforts followed in the mid 1850s, with the ex- emplar of Haussmann's plans for the "regulariza- tion" of Paris (Offner, 1999). The laying out of integrated and open street systems provided the physical frameworks for the extension of other infrastructural services and set the legal and ter- ritorial boundaries of further urban growth (see Coutard, 1999). Boyer (1994, pp.7) notes that, in North America, for example: side by side with the creation of a disciplinary order and ceremonial harmony to the American City... improvers 1 gave heed to the creation of an infrastructural framework and regulatory land order. King (1998, pp.23) adds that these improvers would create rational plans that treated the city like a machine to be planned as an engineer plans an industrial process, breaking it down into its essential functions (housing, work, recreation and traffic), Taylorizing and standardizing them (in a Master Plan) as a totality. The city became a space to be ordered, regu- lated and configured through managing the inter- play of territory and infrastructures; "what was discovered at that time was the idea of society" (Foucault, 1984, pp.242, emphasis in original). Although there were substantial national and local variations in the specific technological and social organization of infrastructure providers there were three key features that characterised most cases (Graham & Marvin, 2001, pp.77-81). Firstly, there was broad consensus that in- frastructures through which services were dis- tributed were most effectively managed through "natural monopolies." That is, a single supplier was considered to be more efficient than several suppliers in any particular area. In extension, a publicly regulated monopoly was able to benefit from economies of scale by developing one infra- structure whereas a fragmented industry was likely to lead to duplication of costs. Indeed, Britain's slow economic progress in the 1920s was due to a failure to integrate its 65 electricity suppliers, 49 different power systems, 32 different voltages and 70 different pricing systems (Hughes, 1983). At the same time, the one "natural" supplier that was to be granted a monopoly required significant capital outlay, especially in the early stages of de- velopment. In addition, infrastructures represented a form of sunken capital that realistically could 3