Dig After Design for Shovel-Ready Infrastructure

Before officials get too excited about using stimulus money to repair the nation's infrastructure, they should carefully consider design, according to this oped.

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors has listed 15,221 local infrastructure projects in 641 cities that are "ready to go." But while speed in getting work started and jobs created is clearly key, the importance of good design that will last for generations should not be lost in the haste."

"We need to ensure that the money spent goes to creative, sustainable buildings that will stand the test of time and will still be used by our children and our grandchildren. After all, they are the ones who are going to be paying for these debt-financed projects."

"Perhaps the greatest design opportunity the economic stimulus can give us is for green and sustainable design to become an automatic and essential part of the architecture of new buildings, not just an add-on. In the same way that a bailout for the auto industry presents the prospect to reorient the design of automobiles in a sustainable direction, so is the economic-stimulus package a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reorient our architectural focus toward sustainable design."

Full Story: Good, green design can be stimulating, timeless



Someone is going to say that

Someone is going to say that we need to be clear what kind of design is recommended. And one person's good design is another's waste of time. I read that recommendations to spend stimulus money on architecture is meeting with derision in high places, so I made the following suggestions:

While the concept of spending stimulus money on architecture is being laughed out of the room, I might as well stimulate more laughter with my stimulus spending proposals. The problem is that I’ll have everyone laughing, even those stung by the reaction to their own proposals. But here goes anyway.

Environmentalist/architects need to draw a line in the sand:

- No building that doesn’t address the need to slow and reverse climate change

- Apart from sensitive urban infil that respects the need for urban open space, no building on open land

- Build to help economically challenged people sustain themselves, as in the following:

— Construct independent basement units beneath buildings that lack them now, enabling harried homeowners to gain income from renting or condominiumizing them

- End starchitecture

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