[SE27-HAB] Co-Producing Basic Services: Alternative socio-Technological Arrangements Towards Urban Sustainability

DAY 3 – Friday 29 June – 14:00-15:30

Swiss Tech | Room 3A | Level Garden 
Session Leader

Giuseppe Faldi
Université Libre de Bruxelles – Faculté d’Architecture La Cambre Horta, Centre de recherche HABITER
Giuseppe Faldi is an Environmental and Land Planning Engineer, PhD in Sustainable Development and International Cooperation at Sapienza University of Rome.
He is currently working as postdoctoral researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles within a research project analysing typologies of institutionalized coproduction of water and sanitation services in the Urban South. He presented his researches at many international conferences and produced various peer-review publications. 


In recent years, with the “collapse” of the modern ideal of the “networked city” and the rise of emerging fragmented urban landscapes and socio-technical configurations, basic service coproduction has fully entered into the international discussion on sustainable service delivery models in the Global South, as highlighted for example in the United Nations Policy Papers on Urban Services and Technology.
Coproduction is here intended as the regular long-term collaboration between state actors and lay actors during some or all the phases of the service delivery cycle (planning, design, delivery and assessment). It represents a specific social practices that change the relations between users and providers by modifying the socio-technical and environmental dynamics of the services. In a coproduced service, technology, which can assume different physical (e.g., type and connection of devices, simple or complex) and social (e.g., actors involved and expertize) structures, is thus the backbone that connects different institutional forms of users/providers and of resources mobilized in service development.
Therefore, the session aims at making a substantial contribution to the debate on sustainable urban service provision in the Global South by exploring whether and under which circumstances coproduced socio-technological arrangements foster fair and affordable access to service, social inclusion and sustainable settlements. In other words, it aims at understanding the way in which institutional forms of service providers/user co-evolve with technological configurations and practices to bring about alternative and more sustainable service provision systems.
Panelists and Abstracts
Low-cost Technology beyond the Networked City: Co-production Arrangements and Decentralized Treatment of Water and Waste Water in Hanoi
Federica Natalia Rosati1, Thu Hương Thi Hoang2, Jacques Teller1, Giuseppe Faldi3, Luisa Moretto3
1Université de Liège, Belgium
2VNU University of Science, HUST, School of Environmental Science and Technology, INEST, Vietnam
3Université La Cambre-Horta, Bruxelles, Belgium
Presenting author’s email address: huong.hoangthithu@hust.edu.vn
Biography of Presenting Author: Hoang Thi Thu Huong is associate Professor and Vice Dean of Hanoi University of Science and Technology, School of Environmental Science and Technology in Hanoi, Vietnam. Her researches in the field of environmental engineering and sustainable development mainly focus on water quality and wastewater treatment. She holds a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences at Gent University, Belgium.
This paper explores how alternative technological arrangements contribute in defining the fragmented landscape of water and sanitation services in Hanoi, Vietnam. Main questions addressed by this analysis include: i) how current urban dynamics shape the provision of basic services beyond the ideal of a networked city; ii) the ways in which low-cost technological configurations implement and/or substitute conventional delivery models at different urban scales and finally; iii) to which extent those co-production arrangements can represent a sustainable and effective alternative in the context of fast-growing cities. The contribution will be based on the preliminary results of a survey conducted in 10 different urban and peri-urban settlements in Hanoi as well as on environmental analysis to evaluate the efficiency of those alternative technical devices.
Socio-Technical Transition and Flexibility in Post-Settlement Water Supply Systems.
Liana Ricci1
1University College of Dublin, Ireland
Presenting author’s email address: liana.ricci@ucd.ie
Biography of Presenting Author: Liana Ricci holds a Msc in Environmental Engineer and a PhD in Urban and land-use Planning. She is currently Teaching Fellow in Regional and Urban Planning at the University College of Dublin. Prior to being appointed at UCD she was Postdoc Fellow and Contract Professor in Urban and regional policy and Urban and land-use planning at Sapienza University of Rome, Dept. of Civil, Building and Environmental Engineering of. Her research interests concern the interface of human relations with the natural and built environments with a focus on urban and environmental planning, climate change adaptation and alternative forms of infrastructure and service provision.
Standardized solutions applied in context where people’s livelihoods are highly dependent on natural resource, and infrastructure functions are complemented or replaced by social networks, risk to increase vulnerability by reducing diversification and flexibility in modalities of accessing water.
The paper investigates how modalities of accessing and managing water change after the introduction of a post-settlement water distribution system. The changes introduced due to the new system are then combined to build and compare the trajectories of change of two settlements. The aim is to understand what are the factors influencing flexibility in access to water. The analysis shows that flexibility in accessing water is highly dependent on its relational nature, on context characteristics, and on the nature of changes introduced by the new infrastructure system. It results that Community management, control of water tariffs, and relationship between residents and water resource are crucial for flexibility and diversification in accessing water. Further exploration of those aspects can provide inputs to operationalize post-colonial theories and the ”African Urbanism” theory in infrastructure provision. 
Co-production of basic urban services, an ambiguous panacea?
Questioning alterations of paradigmatic models, alternative socio-technical arrangements and territorial alterities
Rémi de Bercegol1
1Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, PRODIG
Presenting author’s email address: remi.debercegol@cnrs.fr
Biography of Presenting Author: Rémi de Bercegol, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). He has a doctorate in Urban Planning from LATTS (research group on technology, territories and societies) at ENPC/UMLV, Paris Est, France. He was a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities (CSH) in New Delhi between 2008 and 2012. During this time, he undertook research for his book on small towns and decentralisation reforms in nothern India (Small towns and decentralisation, Springer, 2017). Beyond the scope of India, his research focuses now on world urbanisation and the transformation of cities in the global South, analysed principally in terms of their essential services (water, sanitation, waste management and energy).
This presentation will discuss the ambiguities of co-produced services management models. From the XIX century, the expansion of large networks (of water, drainage, energy and waste) have shaped the development of cities, and the ideal of a “networked city” imposed itself as a paradigm for providing basic urban services in a universal and homogeneous manner. The uniformity of this dominant model is challenged for its intrinsic limitations in the North as well as the South. Other modalities of service provision are de facto emerging, favouring its co-production by involving local communities. Through an analysis of the alterations in the ideal of network city, we shall look at the poorly connected neighborhoods of the South cities, not in terms of shortcomings / weaknesses but more as laboratories of innovation interested in alternative solutions which came into being in order to compensate for faulty services and /or to complete their offer. These systems reveal important issues in terms of urban citizenship and alterities in the city and the consequent emergence of new urban models.
Exploring Appropriate Socio-technological Arrangements for the Co-production of Landslide Risk Management Strategies in Informal Neighbourhoods in Colombia and Brazil
Harry Smith1, Gabriela M. Medero2, Soledad Garcia-Ferrrari3, Françoise Coupé4, Alex Abiko5, Helena Rivera1
1The Urban Institute, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
3School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
4Escuela del Hábitat, Universidad Nacional de Colombia sede Medellín, Medellín, Colombia
5Escola Politécnica, Unidersidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Presenting author’s email address:H.C.Smith@hw.ac.uk
Biography of Presenting Author: Dr Harry Smith is Director of the Centre for Environment & Human Settlements, The Urban Institute, Heriot-Watt University. Smith has 20 years of research experience on urban development in Latin America, Europe and Africa, examining planning and housing issues, access to land for shelter, community empowerment, participatory processes and user involvement in production of the built environment, partnership approaches to the design and long-term maintenance of open space, and co-production of disaster risk management strategies, mainly from a qualitative perspective.
This paper explores the scope for upscaling and transnational transfer of co-produced landslide risk-reducing strategies for informal settlements in Latin America. Drawing on lessons from a pilot experience in a single small informal settlement in Medellin, Colombia in 2016/17, it explains how an international multi-disciplinary research team is rolling out and evaluating the use of community-based participatory monitoring and mitigation of landslide risk in two further communities in the city in Medellin, Colombia, as well as in a community in São Paulo, Brazil. The paper discusses how these bottom-up approaches are being developed to deal with landslide risks in cities around the Global South, in a way that optimises the socio-technological arrangements underpinning collaboration between communities and relevant governmental bodies, taking account of the specific contextual conditions.

The role of corporate entrepreneurs in designing off-grid energy service with its users: A case study of SELCO in Bangalore

Akil Amiraly1, Haruki Sawamura1
1i3-CRG École polytechnique CNRS Université Paris-Saclay
Presenting author’s email address:akil.amiraly@polytechnique.edu
Biography of Presenting Author: Akil Amiraly is a researcher with the Management Research Center, a joint research unit of Ecole Polytechnique and Cnrs. His research concerns the processes of diffusion, appropriation and translation of novel technical elements of urban infrastructure systems, based on empirical work about water and electricity services in developing countries. In management, he studies the interplay among public services, technologies, and human behaviour. His qualitative research involves describing the sociotechnical context; consumption practices; technological devices.
This article highlights the emergence of customers willing to use solar photovoltaic systems developed by a visionary company in the context of discontinuous public electricity supply in Bangalore. The research identifies how these off-grid services initially designed for poor rural customers reach the urban upper-middle class customers. The case of SELCO illustrates a specific built-in corporate entrepreneurship culture that plays an important role in bridging projects into a new context by creating an interactive relationship with clients. A small number of individuals in the organization starts working to understand the client’s needs and slowly identifies new meanings of its service.
Institutional Complexity and the Role of Technology in Co-producing a Basic Urban Transport Service: Case Study of Dockless Shared Bicycle Schemes
Sun Sheng Han1
1The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Presenting author’s email address: sshan@unimelb.edu.au
Biography of Presenting Author: Sun Sheng Han is Professor of Urban Planning in the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne. He researches urban economic and spatial changes in the Asia-Pacific region and has published widely in the area of urban and regional studies. His recent books include Towards Low Carbon Cities in China (Leading editor, Routledge 2015), Population Mobility, Urban Planning and Management in China (Co-editor, Springer 2015), and Healthy Future Cities (Leading editor, Building Industry Press 2018 – in print).
This paper examines the role of technology and institutions in the evolution of a basic urban transport service by investigating a complex range of factors shaping the inception, adaptation and impact of the latest bikeshare scheme. Main questions of inquiry include how the key agents and institutions interplay to co-produce dockless shared bicycle schemes and what the role of technology is in the formation and operation of these schemes. The findings reveal that technology and institutions, together with business makers, venture capitalists, users and other stakeholders in an array of socioeconomic and environmental realms, determine the sustainability of the schemes. Three fundamental tasks are identified for further policy and research innovations: 1) to develop a holistic framework to include institutional complexity, 2) to assess the paradoxical situation of innovation in the Global South, and 3) to discover solutions to unfair distribution of benefits among the population.
Actors, Modes and Practices – Arrangements in the Everyday Governance of Piped Water Supply Network in a Small Town in India
Ratoola Kundu1, Suchismita Chatterjee1
1Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Presenting author’s email address: ratoola@gmail.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Dr. Ratoola Kundu is Assistant Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She holds a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy (2010) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research work lies at the intersection of urban planning and governance, specifically examining the role of informal intermediaries in the production of spaces and urban services and the emergent forms of socio-spatial inclusions and exclusions that follow.
Drawing on everyday instances of urban water infrastructure governance, this paper argues, specific governance arrangements comprising both state and non-state actors transform social and technological dynamics of urban service delivery systems, from one perceived as a “modernized” networked system to one that demonstrates greater flexibility, multiplicity of forms and differentiated outcomes with respect to access across socio-economic groups. Following a state-led filtered piped drinking water (surface) supply project in Baruipur, a small peripheral town in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, the paper also posits that inhabitants’ social preferences, their established habits, and reliance on established informal water networks determine how techno-social dynamics of the modernization project are constantly questioned, challenged, reimagined and modified to suit local conditions. This paper is an attempt to understand shifting power dynamics across multiple governance scales through the lens of water supply services, reflecting whether and how this impacts sustainable service delivery in Global South cities.