Infrastructure and Government

Yesterday’s issue of the New York Times Magazine dedicated yesterday’s "Architecture" issue to Infrastructure. At the very least, do check out Tom Vanderbilt’s piece on data centers to read about this emerging form of telecommunications infrastructure.

Why all this attention to infrastructure? If you look at the history of the term, it was used infrequently until the 1980s when it gained currency as a result of America In Ruins: The Decaying Infrastructure, a call for change in policy that received nationwide attention in the press. Alas, it largely fell on deaf ears: politicians interested in downsizing had little interest in more infrastructural spending.

If infrastructure is getting attention because it is in dire need of repair, then that’s largely a good thing. On the other hand, there may be another reason, outlined by Eric Janszen in "The Next Bubble: Priming the Markets for Tomorrow’s Big Crash" over at Harper’s Magazine last year. Janszen persuasively makes the case for how capitalism has been reduced to a bubble economy and how infrastructure is going to be the next bubble. 

Is architecture doomed to another bubble? Will the nearly impossible complexity of constructing new forms of infrastructure keep this bubble from forming? Or is are we going to boldly head toward a WPA 2.0? Time will tell. I’m not placing any bets on the latter. 

Yesterday’s issue of the New York Times Magazine dedicated yesterday’s "Architecture" issue to Infrastructure. At the very least, do check out Tom Vanderbilt’s piece on data centers to read about this emerging form of telecommunications infrastructure.

Why all this attention to infrastructure? If you look at the history of the term, it was used infrequently until the 1980s when it gained currency as a result of America In Ruins: The Decaying Infrastructure, a call for change in policy that received nationwide attention in the press. Alas, it largely fell on deaf ears: politicians interested in downsizing had little interest in more infrastructural spending.

If infrastructure is getting attention because it is in dire need of repair, then that’s largely a good thing. On the other hand, there may be another reason, outlined by Eric Janszen in "The Next Bubble: Priming the Markets for Tomorrow’s Big Crash" over at Harper’s Magazine last year. Janszen persuasively makes the case for how capitalism has been reduced to a bubble economy and how infrastructure is going to be the next bubble. 

Is architecture doomed to another bubble? Will the nearly impossible complexity of constructing new forms of infrastructure keep this bubble from forming? Or is are we going to boldly head toward a WPA 2.0? Time will tell. I’m not placing any bets on the latter. 

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