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Title: Re-examining the value of infrastructure to support urban growth and liveability
Author: McArthur, Jenny
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 2004
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Urban infrastructure systems form an essential component of the urban built environment to support flows of goods, people, information and resources, and diverse social and economic activities. Growing cities face an imperative to expand infrastructure service provision to accommodate greater populations, while also catering for liveability by providing for users’ needs and environmental sustainability. This thesis examines the ways in which infrastructure relates to growth and liveability, and the potential for infrastructure to be instrumentalised as a transformative means to support liveability while accommodating growth. An interdisciplinary approach is adopted, utilising qualitative content analysis, spatial econometrics and spatial growth analysis. These methods examine the ways in which infrastructure supports liveability and growth, testing existing agglomeration theory, planning paradigms and spatial strategies. Analysis of the instrumentalisation of infrastructure within spatial planning found that a more thorough consideration of how value is generated from infrastructure, and diverse types of value, can support transitions to improve liveability. Econometric analysis showed that infrastructure mediates socio-spatial relations, enabling agglomeration externalities to be generated across small spatial scales. Analysis of urban growth in Auckland, Melbourne and Vancouver revealed that the ‘compact city’ model for sustainable transitions does not consistently hold true, and supported alternative strategies which focus on flows generated, instead of the urban built environment. By examining urban infrastructure from multiple disciplinary perspectives, this thesis develops a more rigorous understanding of the value derived from infrastructure provision, to inform decision-making. Infrastructure planning can support growth and liveability by refocusing the frame of decision-making to the broader socio-technical system in which physical infrastructure systems are embedded. The uncertainty of urban growth implies that investment decisions may consider alternative interventions with lower requirements for physical capital expansion.
Supervisor: Collins, B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available