PlanPhilly

Infrastructure

    • Boardwalk Construction on Schuylkill Banks

What does Trump’s infrastructure executive order mean? No one really knows.

Somewhat lost among the flurry of executive orders signed by President Donald Trump last week was one “expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects”.  Some infrastructure…

    • Route 47

SEPTA bus and trolley ridership down, even before city transit strike

Like so many others, SEPTA had a rough 2016. Fiscal Year 2016, that is, which ended June 30th—before the Silverliner V crisis sidelined a third of its Regional Rail fleet and…

    • Grays Ferry Swing Bridge | (c) Bob Bruhin, EOTS Flickr Group

Public feedback sought on on Schuylkill River Swing Bridge project

Joe Syrnick is entering the New Year swinging for the bridges. At a public feedback open house about the Grays Ferry Swing Bridge this Thursday, Schuylkill River Development Corporation’s President said…

VIEW MORE

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.

VIEW MORE

Logging in via Facebook

Log in

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Which weekly emails would you like to receive?