Daily Archives: March 13, 2017

What Is Infrastructure?

When talking about infrastructure it is fine to talk about specific physical infrastructures like roads and public transport, about walkable cities and such – about underground pipes and cable and sewers and electrical and potable water supply.   Walkable cities are nice.  I know.  I live in one.  But there are many walkable places in the world.  The VAST majority of them are small towns, places with few services and bad infrastructure.

I will say that having been over a good bit of southern Peru, I have seen what a handicap it is to a country when such things are missing or inadequate. It was like driving over speed bumps/humps spaced at 5″ intervals.  As a mechanical engineer who has worked many years on well-designed systems, seeing an entire country hamstring by terrifically horrible roads was a shock of the first order.  Third world country?  Try perhaps fourth world.  So I appreciate all those items of infrastructure, very viscerally.  I’ve seen and helped build good and even great ones, and I have seen what happens when they are not even close to being good.  And I am thankful for the many billions of hours of design and construction of any properly functioning physical infrastructure.

I am not saying anything that most of us don’t already know, but pointing out that certain things are part of our infrastructure may be a useful reminder… and perhaps instructional to others. . . Continue reading