Infrastructure is our largest yet most over-looked public space. Necessitating billions of dollars of investment every year, it has typically been designed to meet the most basic functional requirements only. Yet the prospect of a single exorbitantly expensive device doing a single exorbitantly expensive thing exactly as it did over a half century ago seems not just obsolete and wasteful, but environmentally, socially, and economically intolerable. This model is obsolete.
Unlike last generation infrastructure models, next generation infrastructure aims to leverage these mega-investments for broader holistic impact to quality of place and public life. Next generation infrastructure has the potential to be multi-functional, socially-conscious, technologically advanced, environmentally productive, local, adaptable, and truly public.
Here in the southwest, we have the great advantage of having a test case happening right in our own backyard: Interstate 11. This interdisciplinary studio reconsidered I11 not as the last piece of Eisenhower’s interstates, but as the first piece of infrastructure for the 21st century.
Check out our website for the Spring 2014 interdisciplinary urban design studio!