Industrial Infrastructure: Translocal Planning for Global Production in Ethiopia and Argentina

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Industrial Infrastructure: Translocal Planning for Global Production in Ethiopia and Argentina


  • Elke Beyer Habitat Unit, Institute of Architecture, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
  • Lucas-Andrés Elsner Habitat Unit, Institute of Architecture, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
  • Anke Hagemann Habitat Unit, Institute of Architecture, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
  • Philipp Misselwitz Habitat Unit, Institute of Architecture, Technical University of Berlin, Germany


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Abstract:  Current development and re-development of industrial areas cannot be adequately understood without taking into account the organisational structures and logistics of commodity production on a planetary scale. Global production networks contribute not only to the reconfiguration of urban spatial and economic structures in many places, but they also give rise to novel transnational actor constellations, thus reconfiguring planning processes. This article explores such constellations and their urban outcomes by investigating two current cases of industrial development linked with multilateral transport-infrastructure provisioning in Ethiopia and Argentina. In both cases, international partners are involved, in particular with stakeholders based in China playing significant roles. In Mekelle, Ethiopia, we focus on the establishment of a commodity hub through the implementation of new industry parks for global garment production and road and rail connections to international seaports. In the Rosario metropolitan area in Argentina, major cargo rail and port facilities are under development to expand the country’s most important ports for soybean export. By mapping the physical architectures of the industrial and infrastructure complexes and their urban contexts and tracing the translocal actor constellations involved in infrastructure provisioning and operation, we analyse the spatial impacts of the projects as well as the related implications for planning governance. The article contributes to emergent scholarship and theorisations of urban infrastructure and global production networks, as well as policy mobility and the transnational constitution of planning knowledge and practices.

Keywords:  Argentina; China; Ethiopia; global production networks; infrastructure-led development; transnational urban spaces

Published:   23 September 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i3.4211


© Elke Beyer, Lucas-Andrés Elsner, Anke Hagemann, Philipp Misselwitz. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.