Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jeffrey Inaba – whom BLDGBLOG interviewed a few years ago – predicts "a domino effect of operational failures that will to lead systematic breakdowns of infrastructure and services in [the] urban center." Unperturbed, he points us to Barack Obama's Urban Prosperity plan. Inaba writes (emphases added):

"Though it is packaged as a recovery plan it is really a new cities plan. In its most immediate sense it seeks to improve the depressed economy through urban development: to prop up markets by creating jobs to build infrastructure, transportation systems, public facilities like libraries and schools and to implement clean building technologies. But the plan is more ambitious and far reaching. It does more than try to improve cities as a means to an end, it aims to transform what cities are. Instead of calling for maintenance repairs and incremental upgrading, it looks to make a new kind of living environment where cities operate efficiently at a regional (rather than municipal) scale with advanced forms of collective transportation and sustainable infrastructure systems. The declaration of such a plan in itself expands the horizon of possibilities for what we as architects can design, and more importantly, it offers a historically unique opportunity for a developed nation to have a second chance to make a smart form of city. Hopefully, it won’t come down to an additional series catastrophic of events to realize such a plan. But it probably will."

From my Thesis -

The project situates itself in a seldom explored area for architects; the meaning, function, aesthetics and organization of infrastructure. This allows for a re-conceptualization of rail travel and infrastructure, which in turn, offers the possibility to enhance the existing interstate highway system and bring mass transit back into the American consciousness without dismissing American’s unique relationship with the automobile.