A Tale of Energy Transition and Tension: The Incomplete Universalization of the Natural Gas Grid in Istanbul

Special Report: Energy and Cities in Developing Countries: Transitions in Question
By Elvan Arik

Available studies on natural gas networks have so far made little contribution to an understanding of changes in urban management in emerging cities. However, the development of such energy systems, considered as cleaner and more efficient compared to previous systems based primarily on the use of traditional fuels (wood, coal, LPG, biofuels) leads these cities into an energy transition. This process is firstly characterized by the introduction of a new energy resource that then involves changes in certain domestic practices (such as, in our case study, heating and culinary practices). Focusing on the case of the development of the natural gas network in Istanbul, this paper studies the tensions inherent in this transformation. Socio-political and territorial analysis of the deployment of this network, which allows us to evaluate the actual universalization of the service, allows us to turn our attention away from the issue of access to the infrastructure and toward the concrete domestic uses of the service.

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