Urban Fold

Solving Civic Problems in a Post-Fact Society

How does a rapidly changing news media affect big city planning? Badly, according to this post from Next American City.

"It's the dirty little secret of every city built on water that poo sometimes ends up in the water. Even in those places blessed with modern sewerage treatment, ie, the developed world, poo still ends up in the water when it rains a lot. In old cities, where the storm and sanitary sewers run through the same lines, heavy rains can overwhelm the system, requiring the release of untreated wastewaters into the waterways. It's a problem that continues to plague cities throughout the developed world."

"Modern engineering has hit upon an ingenious, though expensive, solution to this nagging problem: massive underground tanks that hold overflow wastewater until it can be treated, thus preventing its release into the waterways."

"Milwaukee is the first large Great Lakes city to adopt this technology. In the 1980s the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) embarked on a multi-billon dollar project, dubbed the Deep Tunnel, which essentially resulted in a series of massive tunnels bored deep beneath the city."

"But these facts don't matter. In a public sphere heavily influenced by talk radio and other media outlets, such as local blogs, where there is no clear line between fact and opinion, where outright falsehoods are presented as legitimate opinions, (often in the form of 'regular joe' commentary) the billons of dollars in investment in the Deep Tunnel are now deemed a massive waste."

Thanks to Dave Steele

Full Story: Solving Civic Problems in a Post-Fact Society

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