Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Infrastructure Banks and Symposiums

I rather enjoyed this NextCity piece on Chicago's new infrastructure bank.  I really like the concept in that it forces the city to be smart in figuring out how the investment pays off, what to invest in, and increased transparency, all of which would be necessary 1) to draw private investment and 2) because the taxpayers deserve it.  Chicago has been doing a lot of great things since Emanuel took over in terms of rewiring the DNA of the city rather than focusing first on bricks and mortar and other "quick wins."  They're in pretty deep financially and they have to repurpose the city for the long-term.

At the end of the day, if we don't invest in infrastructure, we're screwed.  If we continue to invest in the wrong infrastructure, we're screwed.  The key is setting up the mechanisms to deliver the right infrastructure in the right places to serve the city for the long-term.  Oh, and getting the right leaders in the right places.  That matters too.  And they have that at several levels, including transportation.
This Friday is the David Dillon Symposium, entitled this year "The Networked City," which is heartening in a way that we're at the very least titling things in a direction towards what we really should be talking about.
It also happens to be the core of what I write about.

Like here:
Converging Parallel Geographies of the Digital and Physical Worlds
Intersection Density and Decay
Planes, Trains, and Autos & the Paths Less Travelled
Inaccuracy of Supply-Side Congestion Combat
The Intersection as the Atom of the City
The Value and Efficiency of Small Block Structure
Trams, Trollies, Trains, and Trampolines
Dendritic vs. Reticulated Networks: A study in market forces of networks
What is the Prime Directive?

I'm happy that the dialogue is shifting.  I'm also excited about Mark Lamster, the new architecture critic for the DMN who recently said this:
Lamster: “Yes, I think Dallas has become very attached to what we call ‘the architecture of genius.’ And I think now it’s a question of figuring out how we make the city a more humane, connected place, a city that’s a network rather than a city of discrete objects and roads.”
This tells me that he gets it.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to catch any of it.  Instead, I'll be at the other event which unfortunately was scheduled at the same time, same day:

What Makes a Resilient City?

Though we can talk about it all we want.  We can also plan about it all we want.  But can we get the right leadership in the right places at city, region, and state levels to begin building an infrastructure of the future that will allow the city of the future?