1st Edition

Energy, Power and Protest on the Urban Grid Geographies of the Electric City

Edited By Andrés Luque-Ayala, Jonathan Silver Copyright 2016
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    Providing a global overview of experiments around the transformation of cities' electricity networks and the social struggles associated with this change, this book explores the centrality of electricity infrastructures in the urban configuration of social control, segregation, integration, resource access and poverty alleviation. Through multiple accounts from a range of global cities, this edited collection establishes an agenda that recognises the uneven, and often historical, geographies of urban electricity networks, prompting attempts to re-wire the infrastructure configurations of cities and predicating protest and resistance from residents and social movements alike. Through a robust theoretical engagement with established work around the politics of urban infrastructures, the book frames the transformation of electricity systems in the context of power and resistance across urban life, drawing links between environmental and social forms of sustainability. Such an agenda can provide both insight and inspiration in seeking to build fairer and more sustainable urban futures that bring electricity infrastructures to the fore of academic and policy attention.

    1. Introduction

    (Andrés Luque-Ayala and Jonathan Silver)

    Part 1: The Uneven Geographies of Urban Energy Networks

    2. The American South: Electricity and Race in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, 1900-1935
    (Conor Harrison)

    3. Plovdiv: (De-)racialising electricity access? Entanglements of the material and the discursive

    (Rosalina Babourkova)

    Part 2: Rewiring the Urban Grid

    4. Rio de Janeiro: Regularising favelas - energy consumption and the making of consumers into customers
    (Francesca Pilo)

    5. Delhi: Questioning urban planning in the electrification of irregular settlements
    (Laure Criqui)

    6. Maputo: Fluid flows of power and electricity - Prepayment as mediator of state-society relationships

    (Idalina Baptista)

    Part 3: Social Movements and Protest in the Electric City

    7. Berlin: Cooperative power and the transformation of citizen’s roles in energy decision-making
    (Arwen Colell and Luise Neumann-Cosel)

    8. Beirut: Metropolis of darkness and the politics of urban electricity grids

    (Eric Verdeil)

    9. Barcelona: Municipal engineers and the solar guerrillas
    (Anne Maassen)

    10. Athens: Switching the power off, turning the power on - Urban crisis and emergent protest practices
    (Georgia Alexandri and Venetia Chatzi)


    Andrés Luque-Ayala is a Lecturer at Durham University’s Geography Department. His research examines the emergence of a local governance of energy and the interface between urban infrastructures, climate change and development modes in the global South.

    Jonathan Silver is a postdoctoral research associate at Durham University’s Geography Department. His research works at the intersection of urban infrastructure, politics and socio-environmental inequality.

    ’Urban studies has switched on to energy at long last. In Energy, Power and Protest on the Urban Grid, Luque-Ayala and Silver have gathered together a dynamic group of young scholars and an exciting array of case studies from across the global urban landscape which advance our knowledge of the inequalities, infrastructures and indignations through which energy comes to matter in the urban arena. From everyday encounters with wires, meters and generators to the assembling of resistances and alternatives, the electricity grid is shown to be highly charged with political power and possibility.’ Jonathan Rutherford, LATTS, Paris Est University, France