‘Premium Network Spaces’: A Comment


This paper is a response to some of the arguments developed by Stephen Graham in an article published in IJURR in March 2000. In that article, Graham argues that the contemporary conditions of development of infrastructure networks worldwide are particularly favourable to ‘secessionary tendencies’ and lead to the deliberate creation of premium network(ed) spaces, i.e. ‘new or retrofitted transport, telecommunications, power or water infrastructures that are customized precisely to the needs of powerful users and spaces, whilst bypassing less powerful users and spaces’. In this response, I discuss cases in a variety of urban and national contexts that appear to stand in contrast with Graham’s narrative. In conclusion, I stress four directions which additional empirical research on these issues should address: incorporating the role of historical time; differentiating between developed and developing countries; expanding the analysis to spaces other than large cities; and integrating the features of socio‐political regimes.