2.7 Readings

Course subject(s) Module 2: Fuzzy borders: expansion and interconnection of infrastructure systems

Readings for this module

These are our readings for this module:

Convergence and Divergence

Critical infrastuctures, cascading risks and resilience

  • Critical Infrastructure Protection in an Institutionally Fragmented Environment by Dr. Mark de Bruijne and Prof. Michel van Eeten.
    From the abstract: Recent years have witnessed major governmental initiatives regarding Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). At the same time, critical infrastructures have undergone massive institutional restructuring under the headings of privatization, deregulation and liberalization. Little research has gone into understanding the interactions between these two developments. In this article, the authors  outline the consequences of institutional restructuring for the changing ways in which critical infrastructures ensure the reliability and security of their networks and services.


  •  Standards in Transition which was published  as Egyedi, T. & J. Spirco (2011). Standards in transitions: Catalyzing infrastructure change. Futures, 43, pp. 947–960.
    In this paper, the authors take a novel and counterintuitive approach, and focus on standards as a starting point for change. We analyze in what manner standards can play a catalyzing role in infrastructure transitions and which standards characteristics facilitate in doing so. The article concludes that standards can catalyze infrastructure transitions if, first, their content well‐ reflects relevant stakeholder interests; and, second, if standard specifications are simple and performance‐oriented. Their impact is highest in stable markets and for expanding infrastructures. Under these conditions standards can exploit the forces of entrenchment and socio‐technical lock‐in to bring about change.

Inverse Infrastuctures

  • Disruptive Inverse Infrastructures: Conclusions and Policy Recommendations, by Tineke Egyedi. This comes from the book: Inverse Infrastructures, Disrupting Networks from Below.  This chapter  addresses questions such as: What are inverse infrastructures? What distinguishes them from early LTS-like infrastructures? What motives do people have to initiate and participate in inverse infrastructure development? How do they self-organize? Which coordination mechanisms are at play? Which conditions favor the emergence of inverse infrastructures? Are inverse infrastructures better suited to tackle infra problems in rural areas of developing countries than top-down approaches? Are inverse infrastructures sustainable? How is maintenance work organized? Should inverse infrastructure policies be developed, or would this be a contradiction in terms?

Suggested readings

Here are some suggestions for further readings depending on your interest: 

Critical infrastructures

Convergence and new business models

  • An interesting article on the convergence process is, for example,   Digital Convergence And Its consequences – Milton Mueller.
    This paper by Milton Mueller conducts a broad historical survey of the market structure of media and telecommunications industries from the analogue era of the 1940s to the late 1990s. Its chief premise is that convergence is driven by the declining cost of information processing power, and by the development of open standards. The chief effect of this upon market structure is not to encourage consolidation and vertical integration but rather to break up the media market into more or less specialized horizontal components (content, conveyance, packaging of services, software, and terminal equipment). Cheap, mass produced information processing radically undermines the economic and technological advantages of vertical integration across these In this article, Milton Muller identifies two of the prerequisites for digital convergence: (1) a technological revolution in processing power; and (2) a process of converging on common standards. In the second part, he explores the impact of convergence on market structure and business models.


  • For further reading on containers and standardization:   The standardized container: Gateway Technologies in Cargo Transportation which was published as Egyedi, T.M. (2000). ‘The Standardised Container: Gateway Technologies in Cargo Transport.’ In: Manfred Holler & Esko Niskanen (Eds.), EURAS Yearbook of Standardization, Vol.3/ Homo Oeconomicus XVII(3). Munich: Accedo, pp.231-262.
  • Standards characteristics  and ‘designing in’ flexibility: Egyedi, T.M. & Z. Verwater-Lukszo (2005). Which standards’ characteristics increase system flexibility? Comparing ICT and batch processing infrastructures, Technology in Society, 27 , 347–362. (No open access).
  • For further reading about the more radical potential of standards for change: Zachariah-Wolff, J.L., Egyedi, T.M., & K. Hemmes (2007). From natural gas to hydrogen via the Wobbe index: The role of standardized gateways in sustainable infrastructure transitions. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 32, pp.1235– 1245.  (No open access).
  • If you are especially interested in  standards for the telecom-sector we have two articles.   The first article is about the EU (harmonized standards) versus the American approach (market to decide). What are the pro’s and con’s? The second article article gives a clear insight in all the challenges involved with standardization.

Inverse infrastructures

  • Introducing Inverse Infrastructuresby Tineke Egyedi, Donna Mehos and Wim Vree.
  • For  a very interesting presentation about inverse infrastructures (telecom)  in rural areas: click here
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