PlanPhilly

Infrastructure

    • A proposed water rate hike would increase the average water bill by less than $8 per month. (Kelpfish/Bigstock)

On tap for Philadelphia: higher water bills and unhappy home, biz owners

On Tuesday evening, some 30 people gathered in a church basement to hear the Philadelphia Water Department explain why they could soon be paying more to keep their faucets flowing. Speaking…

    • Preliminary sketch of the proposed Temple on-campus football stadium. (Temple University)

Temple stadium moves forward, despite neighborhood opposition

Temple University announced today that it is taking the next step forward on a controversial 35,000 seat stadium in the heart of North Philadelphia. The university plans to file proposals to…

    • Industrial erosion in the North District, from the preliminary draft of North District Plan

January 3: Water main burst uptick | Blatstein sells half of waterfront site | 1K used Uber NYE

Philadelphia has seen a “significant increase in call volume over the past couple of weeks related to broken service lines, frozen service lines and broken water mains” due to the…

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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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