PlanPhilly

Infrastructure

    • Green stormwater management at Nebinger School, Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Water Department

New water department grant program targeting stormwater management on commercial sites may create new type of Philly business

A rain garden. Photo courtesy PWD. As part of a continuing effort to convince commercial property owners to delay the rain that falls on their property from entering an overwhelmed sewer…

    • University City High School

Deal reached on University City High School

Drexel University reached a deal with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s office and several community groups over the zoning of the 14-acre parcel housing the former University City High School Thursday morning. The…

    • Breaking ground on Paseo Verde near Temple University train station

Treasury awards $141 million in tax credits to local development funds

The U.S. Department of Treasury has awarded millions of dollars in New Markets Tax Credits to the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), and Local Initiatives Support Corporation…

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ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE

Infrastructure like roads, water pipes, and sewage systems is simultaneously the most crucial element of urban form while also being the least appreciated.  These forms often run below ground and out of sight and are typically paid for by government agencies, so builders and users alike often take their efficient construction for granted.  However, most infrastructure is very expensive to produce and absolutely necessary for successful urban design. Though its form is rarely seen or acknowledged when it’s working properly, its function can make even the most beautiful of streets an experiential nightmare.  It represents the building blocks of our built environment, and therefore typically comes first in most urban construction.


An important discourse on infrastructure planning, especially in today’s times of factoring energy consumption into the planning process, comes from the suburbs, where low-density developments are built on undeveloped land without previously laying the infrastructure foundation necessary to ensure that the homes are habitable. The sprawl requires local governments to extend public services out to reach these faraway developments, the cost of which can be exorbitant.  In fact, the square footage necessary to connect these distant communities often yields projects that are too expensive to cover with tax payments.  The current trend in planning toward “smart growth” initiatives encourages building in previously developed areas.  These areas are typically well-served by traditional forms of infrastructure.  This infrastructure provides important connections, but it is often aging and therefore requires millions of dollars in upkeep and maintenance, which city governments cannot afford on their own.  This is why infrastructure was central in President Obama’s economic revitalization strategy, highlighted by the “stimulus” bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE

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