End-user innovation of urban infrastructure: key factors in the direction of development

Ian Bartle, Christopher Bouch, Christopher Baker, Christopher Rogers

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Is there such a thing as an urban direction to infrastructure innovation in today’s rapidly expanding cities? City growth has driven evolution of urban infrastructure through a combination of technological, political and commercial innovations to produce today’s top-down, centralised models; however, these now stand in the way of the innovation necessary to accommodate the city growth anticipated in the future. The significant investment set out in the UK government’s National Infrastructure Delivery Plan provides an opportunity to address this problem. This paper postulates that applying a decentralised (bottom-up/user-led) approach to the provision of infrastructure can create the space necessary for a new direction of urban innovation to emerge. It draws on case study examples from the literature, where there have been innovations along these lines, to develop a theoretically informed understanding of what needs to be in place for them to be successful. These findings, together with data from semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, are used to assess the likelihood of a successful, decentralised approach to a proposed, large infrastructure redevelopment at Digbeth in Birmingham.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1800008
Number of pages9
JournalInstitution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Municipal Engineer
Early online date11 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2018


  • infrastructure Planning
  • sustainability
  • town & city planning


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