PlanPhilly

Infrastructure

    • An aerial view of Klyde Warren Park (photo credit Kye R. Lee, Dallas News)

Restore Logan Square: a "Big D" leadership challenge for Philadelphia

This article was co-published by PlanPhilly and urban form website this old city A freeway that once hacked through downtown like a meat cleaver now holds 300 trees and a dog…

    • council 9 11 2014

New bills focus on housing affordability, zoning remapping

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a bill Thursday morning that would extend access to the city’s Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) to people who live in government-subsidized housing. Previously, the program, which…

    • The Queen Lane Apartments tower, as reflected in the windows of nearby Mt. Moriah Church. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Queen Lane Apartments implosion part of PHA's ongoing citywide initiative [video]

The Sept. 13 demolition of the Queen Lane Apartments will be one in a long line of landscape-changing actions by the Philadelphia Housing Authority to replace an aging, obsolete, affordable-housing design.…

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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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