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