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Mobililties Journal - Prof. Steve Graham to deliver guest lecture at AAG 2010

Press clipping: Research

Publication date22/10/09

We are very pleased to announce that Prof Steve Graham, University of Durham will deliver a guest lecture for Mobilities Journal at the 14-18 April 2010 meeting of the Association of American Geographersin Washington DC, USA


Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructures Fail - Life on a globally integrated and rapidly urbanizing planet involves intensifying dependence on vast systems of infrastructure. These provide the mobility, energy, water, food, and waste removal without which modern city life is all but impossible. In so doing, they continually sustain the metabolic mobilities underpinning urban life, blurring categories of the social, technical, cultural, natural and political in the process. When such infrastructures work they are often ignored or taken for granted - at least by those lucky enough to have good and continuous access. Paradoxically, however, when they collapse or are disabled they are at their most visible -- instant ruins to dreams of circulation and modernity. During such disruptions, urbanites momentarily become experts in the amazingly complex and multiscaled infrastructures that they relay on to sustain their every moment. Once services are restored, however, infrastructural edifices tend once again to become taken for granted. In such a context, this lecture will explore the ways in which reactions to, and experiences of, the collapse of infrastructures within and between cities are constructed, imagined, represented, and contested. Focusing primarily on case studies of iconic moments of recent infrastructural disruption within North America -- 9/11, SARS, the 2003 Blackout, and Hurricane Katrina -- the discussion will seek to reveal how such disruptions unerringly work to expose the hidden politics of mobility sustaining contemporary urban life.

The lecture will be followed by a reception hosted by our publishers -Taylor & Francis

We hope to see you there!

John Urry, Mimi Sheller and Kevin Hannam