The constitution of electricity demand in Central Manchester: practices, infrastructure and spaces

Holmes, Torik and Shove, Elizabeth and Blue, Stanley (2019) The constitution of electricity demand in Central Manchester: practices, infrastructure and spaces. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Energy demand has been conceptualised and studied as an outcome of the organisation and performance of social practices and of relationships between practices and infrastructures. Detail regarding the spatial features of these relationships remains underdeveloped. This thesis focuses on the shifting sites of electricity provision and demand, as these relate to changes in the mixture of residential and commercial activity in Central Manchester from 1984 to present. The thesis consists of four linked studies, each designed to provide new insights into the spatial organisation of electricity provision and consumption. The first shows how patterns of electricity demand and land use change together within the centre of the city over time. The second shows that these developments relate to and reflect events and trends that extend beyond the city. The third study follows the construction of one critical part of Central Manchester’s electricity infrastructure and the fourth shows this to be an outcome of relations that again extend well beyond the city itself. These studies, based on expert interviews and secondary data, including maps, schematic diagrams and official plans and strategies, move between scales and between aspects of provision and consumption to provide a subtle and complex account of how practices and infrastructures shape each other across scale. Together, these studies reveal changing relationships between practices and the electricity network at different geographical scales and provide new insight into the emergence and types of ‘global-local’ flows, thresholds, and critical moments that characterise the constitution and the dynamics of electricity demand over time.

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Thesis (PhD)
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25 Mar 2020 10:20
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:50