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People as infrastructure

_pagesarrachees_20839_PagArrMALIQ1wSimone’s approach of cities is related to inhabitants and not primarily to it’s architecture, which is seen as a surface, resulting from the interactions of people.
Simone pense la ville à partir de ses habitants et non à partir de ses infrastructures bâties ou de son architecture, qu’il nomme en tant que surface, résultante des interactions des habitants. 

Such a conjunction of heterogeneous activities, modes of production, and institutional forms constitutes highly mobile and provisional possibilities of how people live and make things, how they use the urban environment and collaborate with one another. The specific operations and scopes of these conjunctions are constantly negotiated and depend on the particular histories, understandings, networks, styles, and inclinations of the actors involved. Highly specialized needs arise, requiring the application of specialized skills and sensitivities that can adapt to the unpredictable range of scenarios these needs bring to life. Regularities thus ensue from a process of incessant convertibility – turning commodities, found objects, resources, and bodies into uses previously unimaginable or constrained. Producer – residents become more adept at operating within these conjunctions as the deploy a greater diversity of abilities and efforts. Again, it is important to emphasize that these conjunctions become a coherent platform for social transaction and livelihood. This process of conjunction, which is capable of generating social compositions across a range of singular capacities and needs (both enacted and virtual) and which attempts to derive maximal outcomes from a minimal set of elements, is what I call people as infrastructure. 
A.S, People as infrastructure, in Johannesburg, the elusive city, Wits University Press, 2009, p.71.


In Nuttal, Literary city, p200 : « AbdouMaliq Simone, in this volume, uses the term of infrastructure to refer to people in the city, to the « ability of residents to engage complex combinations of objects, spaces, people, and practices », to form « conjunctions » which « become an infrastructure – a platform providing for and reproducing life in the city. »

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