(Trans-)national planning in the global South: hyper-connectivity, territorial transformations

Imperatives of world-market integration for the global South necessitate the transformation of territory at the urban and regional scales. This transformation is driven by resurgent forms of spatial planning, which privilege the provision of large-scale infrastructure in order to embed erstwhile national spaces into global networks of production, trade and investment. Imaginaries of transnational interconnectivity are enshrined in national-level planning documents. Examples include China’s “OneBelt, One Road,” Indian industrial corridors, the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor, and the Initiative for the Integration of South America’s Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA). Furthermore, the goal of transnationally integrating sub-national regions is enshrined in the New Urban Agenda passed at Habitat III. The (re-)emergence of (trans-)national urban planning regimes has implications for selective urban regions that become hyper-connected, as it skews their infrastructure investment priorities towards externally-orientated projects. A new generation of so-called ‘fantasy’ masterplans has emerged in urban regions and periurban sites. Bypassed regions also become locked-in and further isolated, often forced into a cycle of deindustrialization and degrowth.

 This session focuses on this emergent regime of (trans-)national urban planning and the uneven geographical development it engenders at multiple scales. We envision a selection of papers whose empirical foci are situated at a range of geographical scales. Potential topics could interrogate:

  • The genealogy and evolution of (trans-)national urban planning regimes, and the ways in which they foster uneven geographical development across the global South.
  • (Trans-)national infrastructure initiatives and uneven geographical development
  • The production of cross-border city-regions and transnational urbanisms
  • The relationship between capital accumulation and infrastructures of connectivity
  • Material critiques of planetary urbanization informed by global South dynamics
  • Lived experiences of infrastructure exclusion amid selective hyper-connectivity


J Miguel Kanai, University of Sheffield miguel.kanai@sheffield.ac.uk

Seth Schindler, University of Sheffield