In recent years, infrastructural delivery and its production arrangements by various actors has gained attention from both researchers and practitioners. At the same time, there has been vast engagement of the informal sector in the production and delivery of key infrastructure such as mobility and water in cities in the Global South. Due to this, researchers have propelled a conversation on the fusion of knowledge of the public, private and informal sector in the production and delivery of infrastructure through a more sustainable approaches in cities in
the Global South. However, the conversation has been geared toward the primary cities in the Global South and a multi-scalar comparative analysis of specific local arrangements and practices within secondary cities is absent in these discussions. To widen this discourse in academia, this project seeks to develop a multi-scalar comparative analysis of the special relationship between formal and informal practices, processes and structures of urban development of Secondary Cities in the Global South. The object of study is the provision of infrastructures at the level of neighborhoods in selected cities. We employ the concept of delivery configurations (Olivier de Sardan 2011, Jaglin 2020) as a multidimensional research
approach of infrastructures as socio-material constructs. Examining delivery configurations allows us to simultaneously survey different actors including their more or less institutionalized forms, their material as well as social resources, the forms of collaboration or co-production and the relationships of these different dimensions. Everyday practices of infrastructure users as well as of the various providers will be included here, acknowledging that the division between both is not always clear. Our research design seeks to create comprehensive, comparable case studies of the everyday use of specific infrastructures, of socio-material production processes and focusing on how certain infrastructures are delivered to different consumers in neighbourhoods within different countries in the Global South.

Our central assumption, supported by literature from the field of informal urban development and infrastructure research, is that delivery configurations of infrastructures are characterized by hybridity, the simultaneity and coexistence of informal and formal processes and structures. Hybridity is an inherent component of social and material reality in all forms of settlements. However, according to the delivery configurations, it varies in its form depending on the framework conditions. An intricate relationship between formal and informal components is ubiquitous in urban reality, which has been conceptualised as different gradients of ‘gray spaces’ (Avni/Yiftachel 2014).

Considering infrastructures and their delivery configurations as a purely formal as well as an absolutely informal form of urban development is difficult to imagine against this background. Thus, examining the forms of hybridity in these processes and structures moves to the center of this proposal’s epistemological interest. Based on the this, the research will be grounded in the ethnographic perspective which is shaped from two major stance, that is, the building perspective and the dwelling perspective. These central points of view are expected to aid in interrogating issues of hybridity from the perspective of the experts and technocrats (building perspective) without ignoring the point of view of local actors (dwelling perspective) and their contribution towards hybrid forms of production and delivery of infrastructure.

The research project comprises the production of four ethnographies in which the delivery configurations of the infrastructures water and mobility are examined in two neighbourhoods of each selected Secondary City (Arequipa in Perù and Sunyani in Ghana). The multi-scalar
comparative perspective is both productive and innovative: It allows us to examine
similarities and differences between poorer and wealthier neighbourhoods in the same city, as well as between the selected cities. The conceptualisation of hybrid delivery configurations of infrastructures is sharpened based on local particularities, while at the same time the possibility arises to comparatively investigate the backgrounds of similar developments in different neighbourhoods and state contexts. Comparison as a productive research tool is thus exploited fully in order to gain new insights into the various manifestations of hybrid urban development practices and their preconditions and implications.

The project focuses on cities in the global South because of their special status within regional and (inter-)national urban systems. Through the chosen micro-perspective of neighborhoods, the impact of decisions on different policy levels on urban development and thus also the expected specificities in Secondary Cities can be made visible. The preparation of four case studies is not representative, but hypotheses can be formulated about the particularities of urban and infrastructure development in secondary cities in their respective geographical, political, social and economic contexts.

The two central research questions and the underlying research dimensions are:
(1) Which different forms of hybrid urban development of neighborhoods in Secondary Cities can be identified through the comparative study of infrastructural delivery configurations?
> What are the specifics in the production and use of the respective infrastructure? Examination of the selected infrastructural delivery configurations of water and
> What are the possibilities of shaping urban development for the different groups ofactors? – Investigation and comparison of the building and dwelling perspective
> What is the relationship between social and infrastructural inequality? – Comparison of poorer and wealthier neighborhoods in the respective secondary city.

(2) What can be said about the urban development of the Secondary Cities studied and the assumed special significance of these cities on the basis of the hybrid practices of production and use of infrastructures studied?
> What is the significance of the various local conditions (political, social, cultural and economic) for the production and use of the infrastructures studied? – Comparison between the cities studied and between the neighborhoods.
> What is the importance of the specific regional, national and international contexts for the development of the delivery configurations of the Secondary Cities? – Comparison of case-specific contexts for the development of the infrastructures studied.
> What is the significance of urban and infrastructure development in Secondary Cities for regional/national development? – Formulation of hypotheses based on the findings from the other sub-areas).