Infrastructures in Practice shows how infrastructures and daily life shape each other. Power grids, roads and broadband make modern lifestyles possible – at the same time, their design and day-to-day operation depends on what people do at home and at work. This volume investigates the entanglement of supply and demand. It explains how standards and 'normal' ways of living have changed over time and how infrastructures have changed with them. Studies of grid expansion and disruption, heating systems, the internet, urban planning and office standards, smart meters and demand management reveal this dynamic interdependence.

This is the first book to examine the interdependence between infrastructures and the practices of daily life. It offers an analysis of how new technologies, lifestyles and standards become normalised and fall out of use. It brings together diverse disciplines – history, sociology, science studies – to develop social theories and accounts of how infrastructures and practices constitute each other at different scales and over time. It shows how networks and demands are steered and shaped, and how social and political visions are woven into infrastructures, past, present and future.

Original, wide-ranging and theoretically informed, this book puts the many practices of daily life back into the study of infrastructures. The result is a fresh understanding of how resource-intensive forms of consumption and energy demand have come about and what is needed to move towards a more sustainable lower carbon future.

part I|1 pages

Evolving infrastructures

chapter 1|7 pages

Introduction – infrastructures in practice

The evolution of demand in networked societies

part II|2 pages

Varieties of infrastructures

chapter 3|13 pages


chapter 4|10 pages

Situating electrification

Examples of infrastructure-practice dynamics from Thailand and Laos

chapter 5|10 pages

Chopping, stacking and burning wood

Rhythms and variations in provision 1

chapter 6|17 pages

Self-sufficiency in architectural and urban projects

Toward small-pipe engineering?

part III|2 pages

Standards, planning, adaptation

chapter 7|13 pages

The office

How standards define ‘normal’ design practices and work infrastructures

chapter 9|13 pages

District heating in Belgrade

The politics of provision

chapter 10|13 pages

Unleashing the internet

The normalisation of wireless connectivity

chapter 11|13 pages

Making space for the car at home

Planning, priorities and practices

part IV|2 pages

Drawing boundaries and managing networks

chapter 12|12 pages

Contentious interfaces

Exploring the junction between collective provision and individual consumption

chapter 13|14 pages

The French electricity smart meter

Reconfiguring consumers and providers

part V|2 pages

Steering, managing and disrupting demand

chapter 14|13 pages

Co-constituting supply and demand

Managing electricity in two neighbouring control rooms

chapter 15|13 pages

Prices as instruments of demand management

Interpreting the signals

chapter 17|6 pages

Infrastructures in practice

Implications for the future