ARRA Misses the Ecological Mark

Hillary Brown argues that the infrastructure priorities of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act further the carbon-intensive status quo and miss an unprecedented opportunity to build innovative, green systems.

At $132 billion, ARRA provides only a fraction of $2.2 trillion needed to repair and upgrade America's infrastructure, notes Brown. Furthermore, she says, by emphasizing private transportation over public, underfunding clean energy projects and doing nothing to break down the 'siloed thinking' that plagues the public works sector, ARRA will simply perpetuate the inefficiencies of current systems.

Instead, the next generation of infrastructure should employ 'bold strategies': co-location and integration of diverse functions, models that work in concert with natural processes, projects that bring programmatic benefits to communities, and resilient design capable of adapting to global climate change.

However, the ultimate challenge to smart infrastructure may be political rather than technical, Brown writes:

"Designing appropriate, sustainable technologies may be the least challenging aspect of our American infrastructural dilemma. The more daunting problem is our dysfunctional governance - a political culture that seems unwilling to commit to implementing what we know we need, and know how to make."

Full Story: Infrastructural Ecologies: Principles for Post-Industrial Public Works

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95
Book cover of Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!