Monday, June 2, 2014

Learn About Your City's Infrastructure.

From section "Energy" - United Illuminating
Here on Nhv.Org, we love infrastructure. Cities and places are like extensions of ourselves; our environment helps define us. Therefore how our cities are designed often reflects the way that we live. How we transport ourselves to work defines each and every morning. How water can emerge from a faucet with the turn of a valve.

Whether we're on a city bus, barreling down Elm Street, or taking a quiet walk through a neighborhood to a downtown work destination, civic infrastructure plays a great deal of significance in all of our lives. Especially when you see a photograph of a place that you've been before; you recognize it, like everybody else who can identify with that location.

A group of Yale Students, headed by Architecture school faculty member and professor Elihu Rubin, took on a project of attempting to understand as much about New Haven infrastructure as possible. The product of their research has been encapsulated into a browsable database; a website called

People's Guide To New Haven Infrastructure

Subjects include Transportation, Waste and Water, Energy, Parks and Public Space, as well as Telecommunications. Each topic contains data and research assembled by Yale students studying each aspect of New Haven.

Elihu Rubin:"A People's Guide to Infrastructure" (from the about page):
"Content for this site was researched and written in 2014 by students of “Infrastructure:  Politics and Design,” an undergraduate seminar at Yale University listed in the departments of Architecture and Political Science.

From Yale Library Digital Collection
"Students were split into teams by subject area (Transportation, Water and Waste, Energy, Parks and Public Space, and Telecommunications—the five chapters of this guide) and asked to develop three themes:  a physical and historical description of infrastructural artifacts in each area; a political and social analysis of how they were made and used; and a consideration of future challenges and proposals.

"Why a People’s Guide?  Infrastructure may appear as a neutral framework for human settlement, urbanization, and daily life.  The sheer scale and, at times, grandeur of these artifacts add to a sense of their inevitability.  The way that infrastructure networks are arrayed, however, is not inevitable.  Infrastructure takes shape in a specific political and cultural setting with uneven impacts on the distribution of services, resources, and opportunities across the metropolitan landscape.  Our goal here is to represent infrastructure in New Haven not as a series of “Great Works” that celebrate technology and progress (certainly innovation is part of the story) but to focus on questions of equity and accessibility in a critical appraisal of the networks that unite and divide.  In this way, we hope to inspire citizens of New Haven and elsewhere to develop historically informed attitudes toward current and future proposals.  The upshot is empowering.  The future is not predetermined.  We cannot afford to take infrastructure for granted and must advocate for evenness at every turn in the road."  {source:}