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Reimagining Infrastructure

An ambitious and innovative infrastructure program can multiply benefits for cities willing to take bold steps.
November 15, 2019, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Luciano Mortula

Kathryn Firth writes an op-ed for Next City:

[A]s conversations continue about the need for a Green New Deal and overdue upgrades to the nation’s infrastructure, we also have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the role that infrastructure can serve in cities. Infrastructure should be conceived as a community asset, both providing equitable new public space and contributing to the beauty of cities, at a time where pressure on urban land is at a premium and civic pride often waning.

Firth, urban design director at NBBJ, cites Victorian Era London as an example of society that took advantage of a similar opportunity—same with the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s and 40s in the United States.

As to how the United States, at the dawn of the 2020s, can achieve similar successes in repositioning the role of infrastructure in cities, Firth suggests several strategies, such as celebrating the utilitarian, balancing safety and security with public access, creating productive tension, getting creative with budgets, and engaging the community.

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Published on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 in Next City
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