Repeatable formulas like spatial products and free zone cities make most of the space in the world. Some of the world’s most radical changes are being written in the language of this almost infrastructural spatial matrix. Administered by mixtures of state and non-state players and driven by profound irrationalities, infrastructure space generates de facto, undeclared forms of polity that can outpace law. It is the secret weapon of some of the world’s most powerful players. Even at a moment of ubiquitous computing, infrastructure space is itself an information system with the power and currency of software—a spatial operating system for shaping the city. Exposing evidence of this operating system is as important as acquiring skills to hack into it with expanded techniques of form-making and surprising approaches to political activism.
Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale University. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Another recent book, Subtraction (Sternberg, 2014), considers building removal or how to put the development machine into reverse. She has also published Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005) and Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America (MIT, 1999).