In urban communities, infrastructures that support living are indispensable. There is increased interest in alternative ways of providing such support systems, including semi-autonomous infrastructures resulting from the self-organization of local actors. In this study, we analyze the emergence and management of such infrastructures in light of the theory of complex adaptive systems, within which they are called ‘inverse infrastructures’. Empirical evidence is drawn from the case of water cooperatives in the town of Ikaalinen, Finland. Our analysis shows that, with favorable preconditions in place, inverse infrastructures may contribute significantly to local infrastructure services and so also to the functioning of society.