As a child, Anthony Foxx knew he couldn’t ride his bike far from home without being blocked by a freeway. By the time he became U.S. transportation secretary he understood why.
“We now know — overwhelmingly — that our urban freeways were almost always routed through low-income and minority neighborhoods, creating disconnections from opportunity that exist to this day,” [...] “I really believe that this is an issue that has been on the shelf collecting dust for a long time,” Foxx said. — washingtonpost.com
Related stories in the Archinect news:The U.S. just got $4 billion to spend on self-driving carsWhy American infrastructure funding keeps facing such an uphill battleRobert Moses vs. Jane Jacobs: The Opera
Infrastructure was once at the heart of American public policy. Works such as the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Hoover Dam, and the Interstate Highway System transformed the economy. Today, we spend significantly less, as a share of G.D.P., on infrastructure than we did fifty years ago [...] polls show that infrastructure spending is popular with a majority of voters across the income spectrum. Historically, it enjoyed bipartisan support from politicians, too. If it’s so popular, why doesn’t it happen? — newyorker.com
America faces a two-part problem. It’s no secret that the country has fallen behind on infrastructure spending. But it’s not just a matter of how much is spent on catching up, but how and where it is spent. Advanced economies in Western Europe and Asia are reorienting themselves around robust urban clusters of advanced industry. Unfortunately, American policy making remains wedded to an antiquated political structure of 50 distinct states. — Parag Khanna | the NY Times
More on the infrastructural mess in the US:How prepared are American cities for the new reality of self-driving cars?DC in grid lock after unexpected Metro shutdownShould the children of Flint be resettled?Dispatch from Flint: How architects can help, on Archinect Sessions #54
Sitting atop Lake Washington, the new State Route 520 is now the longest floating bridge in the world—beating its predecessor, the old State Route 520, by 130 feet [...].
This new bridge has stronger pontoons than the last one, and can withstand more buffeting from wind and waves. It also has a stormwater collection system, bus lanes in both directions, a path for bikes and pedestrians, and the capacity to someday accommodate a light rail system. — atlasobscura.com
Related stories in the Archinect news:Seattle builds village for the homelessSeattle's proposed 101-story 4/C Tower considered as too tall by the FAASusan Surface, the "humble pioneer" for socially responsible design
In Tijuana, another architect is devising a plan to turn the Tijuana River channel into a solar farm that could provide power to as many as 30,000 homes.
Rene Peralta, co-founder of the Tijuana firm Generica and director of an architecture master's program at San Diego's Woodbury University, thinks that his city can transform this unwieldy piece of infrastructure into a renewable energy plant and water-cleaning station. — The Los Angeles Times
February 2016 was the hottest month in several thousand years, so it seems like a good idea to start transforming erstwhile urban heat islands into power-generating rivers. Below, Generica's rendering of the proposed redesigned Tijuana river channel:For more on projects that turn seemingly...
A rising number of daredevil stunts such as scaling skyscrapers and parachuting from tall structures is being fuelled by competition for online acclaim, according to “urban explorers”, who warn more people are dying as a result.
The immense popularity of online videos of people climbing the world’s tallest buildings, including the London Shard, had turned urban exploration, which traditionally involves surreptitiously exploring the off-limits corners of towns and cities, into an extreme sport — the Guardian
Urban exploration, or "urbex," has a long and interesting history, involving clandestine networks of people sharing skills and knowledge of the infrastructure of cities. But, driven more by a desire for likes than exploration, people are increasingly getting themselves into dangerous...
The seven American cities that made the shortlist in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Smart City Challenge are now deciding their strategies for winning the $40m prize fund...Transportation is the focus, so judges will be interested in self-driving and 'connected' cars, as well as 'smart streets' fitted with sensors. The aim will be to cut accidents, reduce pollution and increase commuter convenience. — Global Construction Review
The DOT shortlisted seven finalists instead of the originally planned five. They are:Austin, TexasColumbus, OhioDenver, ColoradoKansas City, MissouriPittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPortland, OregonSan Francisco, CaliforniaThe winning city is expected to be announced in June.More related to transportation...
After officials announced that Metro, Washington’s subway system, would be shut down for 29 hours, riders began preparations for another problematic travel day in a city already well known for its cramped and sometimes dangerous train commutes.
The controlled chaos began early Wednesday and will continue until 5 a.m. Thursday, affecting 91 Metro stations that provide 700,000 rides each day in the city and its suburbs. — the New York Times
DC residents took to Twitter and other social media to voice their frustration with the unexpected shutdown, which was prompted by an emergency inspection of some 600 electrical cables.Residents have been left to face grueling traffic, delayed buses, or surge-priced Ubers. The Department of...
A US government agency says it has attained the “holy grail” of energy – the next-generation system of battery storage, that has has been hotly pursued by the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk.
Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (Arpa-E) – a branch of the Department of Energy – says it achieved its breakthrough technology in seven years. — The Guardian
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (Arpa-E) was founded back in 2009 as part of President Obama's economic recovery plan. So-called "moonshot projects" are often too risky for private investors, but this state-run initiative may have unlocked a new technology that others, from Elon Musk...
In 1997 two architects set out to rethink Lagos, an African megacity that had been largely abandoned by the state. Amid the apparent chaos and crime, they discovered remarkable patterns of organisation. Two decades later, Rem Koolhaas and Kunlé Adeyemi discuss the past, present and future of the city – and reveal why their own project never saw the light of day — theguardian.com
"...it was the ultimate dysfunctional city – but actually, in terms of all the initiatives and ingenuity, it mobilised an incredibly beautiful, almost utopian landscape of independence and agency." - Rem KoolhaasRelated stories in the Archinect news:Koolhaas guides viewers through bustling Lagos...
American infrastructure is deferred home maintenance on a massive scale. We just keep putting it off until something major — and often catastrophic — happens, and then it ends up costing twice as much [...]
A century later, we’ve lost our collective faith in the power of great projects like the Golden Gate, not to mention our trust in the government to fix a pothole on time and on budget, let alone create an inspiring bridge. How can we restore that faith in possibility? — mobile.nytimes.com
Allison Arieff, editor and content strategist for SPUR (and former judge for Archinect's Dry Futures competition), pens this piece for the Times calling for infrastructure to reprioritize the "bold and courageous," with a look at a few awe-inspiring urban infrastructure projects around the...
It would be helpful if there were another word for “infrastructure”: it’s such an earnest and passive word for the blood vessels of this country, the crucial conveyors and connections that get us from here to there (or not) and the ports that facilitate our trade (or don’t), as well as the carriers of information, in particular broadband...
The word “crisis” is also overused, applied to the unimportant as well as the crucial.
But this country has an infrastructure crisis. — the New York Review of Books
Elizabeth Drew considers several recent books on American infrastructure, with an eye to both the material reality and the political system producing it. She concludes that fixing our infrastructural systems "may require even more widespread paralyzed traffic, the collapse of numerous bridges, and...
Eventually, Saint Kjelds will be able to withstand — and even welcome — heavy rainfall and flooding. [...]
More parks like it are being built to purposefully turn into small ponds during heavy rains, allowing them to capture and retain water on site until the drainage system has capacity to handle it. — citiscope.org
More news on cities' response to climate change:"King tides" give a glimpse of what the (near) future's rising seas will look likeJakarta, already 40% below sea level, is building one of the biggest sea walls on EarthUnchecked climate change will make the Gulf uninhabitable, claims new studyMajor...
Why build a straightforward bridge for an unremarkable sum when the same bridge could be built as a circle for vast amounts of money?
A new bridge spanning (or circumnavigating) Laguna Garzón, a coastal lagoon in southeastern Uruguay, poses just that question. [...] At a glance, it’s the sort of ridiculousness that you might expect of a bridge in London.
In fact, there’s a perfectly good functional explanation for it. — citylab.com
"The concept of the Puente Laguna Garzón was to transform a traditional vehicular crossing into an event that reduces the speed of the cars, to provide an opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of an amazing landscape and at the same time create a pedestrian place in the center," the architect...
Sure, the news was all but confirmed, but today the Port Authority made it official: The transit org announced that the World Trade Center Transportation Hub—anchored by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava's Oculus—will officially open in "the first week of March," per a press release. [...]
What that actually means for commuters: There will finally be a link between the World Trade Center PATH station and 11 NYC subway lines, along with the East River ferries. — ny.curbed.com
Read the Port Authority's announcement in full here.The WTC Transportation Hub previously in the Archinect news:Leaking water delays opening of World Trade Center Transit Hub's luxury shopping mallMassive 'spine' skylight in Calatrava's WTC Oculus nears completionNYMag talks to Santiago Calatrava...
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