KRITIS-Conference „Transformations of Infrastructure Systems“, November 4th-5th

Conference review

12.11.2021 von

Following recent attention to the concept of „Transformation of Infrastructures“, the KRITIS Research Training Group organized the international conference „Transformations of Infrastructure Systems“ bringing together historians, political scientists, urban planners and many scholars from different disciplines to discuss different perspectives on the transformation of infrastructure systems.

The introductory keynote was held by Timothy Moss from the Humboldt University of Berlin. He took the audience on a walk through the transformation processes of the last hundred years in Berlin's infrastructure. Using the development of the capital's sewage system as an example, we gained insight into the political and social processes that accompany such transformation.

Anique Hommels from Maastricht University, our second keynote, showed us the dynamics of infrastructure solutions in times of crisis using the example of pop-up infrastructures, which can be a catalyst for infrastructure change despite their time limitation.

The invited speakers of our first themed panel, „Secure Transformation“, presented multiple examples of how actors are trying to carry out transformation in a secure way, for example in the digital sphere. Due to the dynamics and speed of daily changes in critical infrastructures, the aspect of security is one of the most important to secure the functioning of the infrastructures

Within the second panel „Cultures of Transformation“, several presentations demonstrated the interconnectedness between culture and infrastructure and how the transformation of infrastructure is linked with social practices and changes.

Niklas Vespermann from the German Federal Network Agency started the second day of the conference with his keynote on the perspective of the national regulator on the status, challenges and further development of the regulatory framework for secure operations with a focus on the power sector.

The third panel „Governance of Transformation“ highlighted various international examples of how transformation processes are managed and how the different groups of actors, policy makers, councils, companies, etc., influence such processes.

„Spatiality & Temporality of Transformation“ was the topic of the final panel of the conference. and consisted of interesting contributions on the conceptualisation of time and space in transformation processes; how space and time influence infrastructures and their transformation, but at the same time are influenced by the infrastructures themselves.

In summary, this conference provided a very good opportunity to broaden and exchange perspectives on the different facets of infrastructural transformation. The variety within the presentations and the fruitful discussions confirmed that the topic is a very current and useful concept for the study of socio-technical systems in many disciplines, both from an academic viewpoint and in practice.

We, the KRITIS Research Training Group at the Technical University of Darmstadt, would like to thank all invited speakers, participants and the whole organizational team for contributing to the success of this event.