Urban Fold

Don't Rebuild -- Reinvent America's Infrastructure

The deplorable state of America's infrastructure may represent a one-time opportunity: not to replace what once made sense but does no longer, but to embark on a bold program to create a more environmentally sustainable nation, writes Sara Robinson.

"We all know the litany: the levees of New Orleans, the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, overtaxed air traffic systems, construction cranes coming down all over, thousands of other structures quivering on their last legs. It's a slow-motion disaster-in-the-making.

It's not an overstatement to say that we may never have a creative opportunity like this one again. Even as our cities are crumbling around us, we're also finding ourselves in deep trouble on the energy front. [T]he more forward-thinking among us also realize now that solving this problem is going to require us to dramatically re-order our economy, invest in and invent new technologies, and completely re-think the way we build cities.

Those sprawling post-war cities made perfect sense in their time; but increasingly, they don't make sense in ours. But because all this stuff is already built-at a tremendous cost in money and material-it's also daunting to consider just how much of it will have to be rebuilt, refitted, or simply scrapped and replaced (or not) in order adapt to the new realities.

It's not enough to merely restore what's already there. We need to take an entirely fresh look at our assumptions about how cities and towns should be built, and put sustainability at the core of all our planning decisions."

Full Story: Acts of Creative Destruction: Rebuilding America for the 21st Century

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