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Inverse Infrastructures

Disrupting Networks from Below Edited by Tineke M. Egyedi, Delft Institute for Research on Standardization and Donna C. Mehos, Senior Researcher, Energy and Industry, Department of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
The notion of inverse infrastructures – that is, bottom-up, user-driven, self-organizing networks – gives us a fresh perspective on the omnipresent infrastructure systems that support our economy and structure our way of living. This fascinating book considers the emergence of inverse infrastructures as a new phenomenon that will have a vast impact on consumers, industry and policy. Using a wide range of theories, from institutional economics to complex adaptive systems, it explores the mechanisms and incentives for the rise of these alternatives to large-scale infrastructures and points to their potential disruptive effect on conventional markets and governance models.
Extent: 336 pp
Hardback Price: $155.00 Web: $139.50
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 978 1 84980 301 4
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economics of Innovation
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Economics of Innovation
  • Technology and ICT
The notion of inverse infrastructures – that is, bottom-up, user-driven, self-organizing networks – gives us a fresh perspective on the omnipresent infrastructure systems that support our economy and structure our way of living. This fascinating book considers the emergence of inverse infrastructures as a new phenomenon that will have a vast impact on consumers, industry and policy. Using a wide range of theories, from institutional economics to complex adaptive systems, it explores the mechanisms and incentives for the rise of these alternatives to large-scale infrastructures and points to their potential disruptive effect on conventional markets and governance models.

The approach in this unique book challenges the existing literature on infrastructures, which primarily focuses on large technical systems (LTSs). In contrast, this study highlights unprecedented developments, analyzing the differences and complementarity between LTSs and inverse infrastructures. It illustrates that even large infrastructures need not require a blueprint design or top-down and centralized control to run efficiently. The expert contributors draw upon a captivating and wide-ranging set of case studies, including: Wikipedia, wind energy cooperatives, Wireless Leiden, rural telecom in developing countries, local radio and television distribution, the collection of waste paper, syngas infrastructure design, and e-government projects. The book discusses the feasibility of temporary infrastructures and unprecedented ownership arrangements, and concludes that inverse networks represent a critical transformation of the accepted model of infrastructure development.

Laying a foundation for future research in the area and suggesting ways to bridge the gap between policy and practice, this path-breaking book will prove a riveting read for academics, students and researchers across a number of disciplines including economics, business, management, innovation, and technology and policy studies.
‘This volume makes several valuable contributions to the topic, particularly in expanding the understanding of how to best cultivate the formation and success of inverse infrastructures over time.’
– James Alleman and Andrew Richard Schrock, Digiworld Economic Journal

‘The traditional analysis of infrastructure networks has provided the conceptual rationalization for centralized monopolies for a century. In recent years, liberalization has shown that much wider participation can be beneficial. Innovative development in decentralized networks can be driven from below if government policies permit it, as vividly demonstrated by the Internet. This book contributes to a much needed exploration into the characteristics and implications of decentralized networks being driven from below, introducing new perspectives on the conception and analysis of infrastructure networks.’
– William H. Melody, Aalborg University, Denmark and Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Contributors: A. Correljé, C. Davis, F. de Jong, T.M. Egyedi, P.M. Herder, M. Janssen, L.M. Kamp, R. Künneke, D.C. Mehos, K. Mulder, I. Nikolic, T. Schuetze, R.M. Stikkelman, J. Ubacht, J. van den Berg, E. van Oost, A.F. van Veenstra, S. Verhaegh, J. Vrancken, W.G. Vree, T. Weijers, R. Westerveld
Contents:

Foreword

1. Introducing Inverse Infrastructures
Tineke M. Egyedi, Donna C. Mehos and Wim G. Vree

PART I: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES
2. Inverse Infrastructures and their Emergence at the Edge of Order and Chaos: An Analytic Framework
Jan van den Berg

3. Mapping Institutional, Technological and Policy Configurations of Inverse Infrastructures
Rolf Künneke

PART II: EXPLORING INVERSE FEATURES
4. Centralization and Decentralization: A History of Local Radio and Television Distribution
Thea Weijers

5. Citizen-Driven Collection of Waste Paper (1945–2010): A Government-Sustained Inverse Infrastructure
Frida de Jong and Karel Mulder

6. Self-Organization in Wikis
Igor Nikolic and Chris Davis

7. The Role of Policy in Inverse Developments: Comparing Dutch and Danish Wind Energy
Linda M. Kamp

8. Who Cares? The Maintenance of a Wi-Fi Community Infrastructure
Stefan Verhaegh and Ellen van Oost

9. Decentral Water Supply and Sanitation
Aad Correljé and Thorsten Schuetze

PART III: EXPLORING IMPLICATIONS
10. Inverse Telecommunications: The Future for Rural Areas in Developing Countries?
Rudi Westerveld

11. Building a Syngas Infrastructure: Translating Inverse Properties into Design Recommendations
Paulien M. Herder and Rob M. Stikkelman

12. Policy Implications of Top-down and Bottom-up Patterns in E-Government Infrastructure Development
Anne Fleur van Veenstra and Marijn Janssen

PART IV: CONCLUSION
13. Disruptive Inverse Infrastructures: Conclusions and Policy Recommendations
Tineke M. Egyedi

APPENDICES
Appendix I: The Internet and Rijkswaterstaat: An ICT Infrastructure for Roads and Waterways
Wim G. Vree

Appendix II: Inverse Infrastructures: Coordination in Self-Organizing Systems
Tineke M. Egyedi, Jos Vrancken and Jolien Ubacht

Index