NOIR officially launches at RSA Montreal

The Network on Infrastructural Regionalism is a network of scholars studying all aspects of infrastructure, regionalism, and infrastructural regionalism. Network activities are generously supported by the Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Networks funding scheme. See the full network description on the RSA website here.


In a special session at the Regional Studies Association North America conference in Montreal in September network organizers JP Addie, Michael Glass, and Jen Nelles marked the official start of NOIR activities.


The session also included presentations by Tom Christoffel on regional planning and infrastructure and Julie Cidell on the Illiana Expressway in metropolitan Chicago. Many thanks to all of the presenters and attendees.



What does it mean to be a member of NOIR?


We launched this network to bring together scholars and practitioners from around the world engaged in work at the intersection of infrastructure and regional studies. By placing the region at the center of the ‘infrastructural turn’, the network reflects both the increased conceptual, geographic, and political importance of infrastructure and the endemic crises of access (social space), expertise (technology), and resources (governance) that varied provision of infrastructures within regions can cause. We intend to offer multiple forums to debate the terrains of regional infrastructure, develop collaborative research projects, and facilitate meaningful dialogue between academics and practitioners.

We hope that network members will:

  • Attend NOIR events As part of its mandate, NOIR will be organizing a series of official events (listed below). We hope that every member will be able to attend at least one of these (and yet to be announced) events. However, because this is a global network and travel is sometimes difficult there are lots of other ways to participate.

  • Host events around NOIR themes If you would like to host an event of relevance to the network at your institution or in partnership with other research groups you are eligible to promote it with NOIR affiliation. We can also circulate your event announcement to members, post details on our website, and promote via NOIR social media.

  • Contribute to NOIR content As the network matures we hope to use it as a platform to raise important questions, provoke debate, and launch new inquiries. To that end we hope to organize network members to contribute blog posts, online symposia, podcasts, and other forms of media that will enable us to share ideas and make content widely accessible to academic and non-academic audiences alike.

  • Propose or participate in joint research projects We hope that participation in this network will create connections between like-minded researchers and lead to innovative collaborative work. If you have an idea for a project or want to put together a proposal for funding, special issue, or edited collection around a NOIR-related theme we welcome and will support those efforts.

  • New work! Use NOIR to make connections and promote work Whether you’ve recently published a paper, won a research grant, or just have an idea that you want to bounce off other people our communication resources are available to you. The more that we know about each other’s ongoing work, the more we can engage with one another. Email us with news about your work, post a profile on our website (coming soon), or tag us in social media posts you want us to signal boost.

  • Help us expand the network Do you know someone who might be interested in our work? Invite them to join! Our ranks are open to scholars at any career stage and people and organizations involved in infrastructure development, research, management, governance, and services from around the world.


Recent Publications


This section features relevant publications across all platforms by NOIR members. Email us to submit a publication to be featured in this section.

Regional Studies Virtual Special Issue

Regional Infrastructures, Infrastructural Regionalism

Guest Editors:

Michael R. Glass, University of Pittsburgh

Jean-Paul Addie, Georgia State University

Jen Nelles, CUNY/Sheffield University

An ‘infrastructure turn’ across the social and policy sciences is generating a new wave of interdisciplinary inquiry into how infrastructure is shaping urban and regional space. This collection charts the evolution of infrastructure as an empirical and conceptual concern within Regional Studies. The virtual special issue and accompanying editorial demonstrate that analyzing regions through infrastructure - whether large, capital-intensive projects or more mundane infrastructures - provides a novel and necessary perspective on the regional question.


Calls for Papers


We’d like to use the network as a vehicle to get members and others interested in infrastructural regionalism together at events around the globe. If you are hosting or know of an upcoming event that might be of interest get in touch and we will post it on our website, circulate in future emails, and promote on NOIR social media.

CFP: The Temporalities of Urban InfrastructureAnnual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers | Denver, 6-10 April 2019

OrganizersJean-Paul Addie (Georgia State University)Michael Glass (University of Pittsburgh)Jen Nelles (Hunter College, CUNY)

Call for PapersUrban infrastructures are experienced differently by diverse social groups over both space and time. They are produced, governed, and lived in ways that vary considerably relative their temporal frames – from the eras of their planning and the political zeitgeist to the time of day they are examined. In this session, we seek to bring together new research and novel perspectives that foreground the role of time and temporality in the planning, governance, and experience of urban infrastructure. We invite papers that work through temporal notions of periodization, cycles, or rhythmanalysis (among others) to advance understanding of how urban infrastructures are structured by, and engender new, spatio-temporal relations. We welcome conceptual, methodological, and empirical interventions from a variety of geographic, infrastructural, and theoretical perspectives. Please send 250-word abstracts to jaddie@gsu.edu.


Upcoming Events


Specific dates for official NOIR events listed below will be added once they have been decided.


  • May 2020 - NOIR Workshop Infrastructure of the Governance of Regions: Focus on Water and Energy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA, USA. Regional affairs are negotiated and organized through diverse formal and informal mechanisms. Yet, there is only a limited understanding about how diverse stakeholders coordinate interests and policies in and across regional ‘spaces’. The Workshop on Infrastructure and the Governance of Regions will critically assess how water and energy infrastructure helps to produce regional governance structures. We will engage scholars whose work addresses questions regarding: Who is represented in decision-making about regional infrastructures? How are competing interests mediated? What values shape discourses and decisions related to infrastructure and its management? How are the changing dynamics of city-regions influencing the governance of regional infrastructures? What complexities can undermine/empower regional partnerships? Determining how decisions on regional infrastructural governance are made will help us to explain their impact on local communities. More details about this event and how to participate will be posted shortly.

  • September 2020 - NOIR Workshop, Infrastructure Times: The Temporalities of Infrastructural Regionalism, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA. Building on the themes outlined in the above AAG call for papers, NOIR will be hosting a workshop exploring the temporal dimensions of urban and regional infrastructure. We will be soliciting targeted contributions that either shine a temporal light on existing infrastructure research projects or that place questions of periodization, cycles (policy, political, economic, environmental, or ecological), or daily rhythms at the heart of novel scholarly interventions. The goal of the workshop is to develop a collective research agenda around infrastructure time(s) that will lead to the publication of either an edited volume with a university press or peer-reviewed journal special issue. NOIR will be offering travel bursaries to early career researchers and scholars from the Global South - and we strongly encourage NOIR members to consider co-authoring a paper with an ECR or international collaborator. More details and a full CFP will be shared in due course.

  • April 2021 - Special Sessions: The Infrastructural Lives of Regions, Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, Seattle, WA, USA

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