The Spring 2014 Scaling Infrastructure conference is CAU’s second and final infrastructure conference of our biennial theme that will convene political leaders, infrastructural engineers, design professionals and academicians to discuss groundbreaking ideas on infrastructure. Faced with new economic, political, and environmental challenges, the question of appropriate infrastructural investments and design scales is critical to the future of urbanized territories. The technical and political realities, design possibilities, and social and economic concerns for shaping sustainable infrastructural futures in American and International contexts will be addressed.
A new wave of interest has formed around the idea of resilience and redundancy, or scaling down infrastructure in customized ways to ensure systemic failure does not occur when urban areas are struck by unforeseen events, from economic to environmental catastrophes. In our age of sea level rise, monumental infrastructures may protect cities from flooding or risk of catastrophe from storms, but as we have seen in too many cases, monumental defense barriers can fail with drastic and calamitous results. Vast barrier systems and other single sources of protection require equally large amounts of concentrated innovation, funding, and governance to ensure their long-term success. But what happens when these forces are impossible to align? Similarly, new forms of urbanization demanded in American and International contexts are far different from twentieth century centralization models. What type of infrastructure is appropriate for remote areas where connecting to a main line of transit, energy, water, or logistical supply chain is impossible? Are new technologies changing the need for high-density populations to support infrastructural investments? What new scales of infrastructural research and thinking are going to propel urban form in the future? Is innovation in energy and transportation infrastructures that are flexible, adaptable, and scalable down to individual preferences a near reality?
Scaling Infrastructure program available here