Photography by:
  • Clive Hassall, Clive Hassall, GCRO

Off-grid cities

The Off-Grid Cities project focuses on how urban elites are seceding from state-provided infrastructure networks in favour of private hybrid and off-grid technologies. These actions are transforming the provision and consumption of services in cities, with consequences for climate change and social justice. The project builds on the social justice literature and introduces it into climate change scholarship in the global South, recognising that the actions of one social group affect resource allocation in highly unequal cities, and that the infrastructures of elites tend to be absent from urban climate thinking.

Hence, the core objective of the project is to explore how elite infrastructure transitions need to be integrated into debates on, and practices of, producing cities that are environmentally sustainable and socially just. This will be done through a comparative analysis of electricity and water infrastructure in South Africa, focused on practices of elite households and businesses, as well as the policies and programmes of relevant government stakeholders responsible for this infrastructure.

The project website can be accessed here.

Last updated: 12 January 2022.


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