Forum 2016 - Infrastructure Space - Detroit (Ruby Press)

5 Freeways are the cathedrals of our times. —David Byrne, True Stories , 1986 Is infrastructure but the plumbing and wiring of the human environment, or is it the true lifeblood of the spaces we inhabit? Infrastructural systems facilitate the flow of anything from people and goods to resources and information. While engineered to perform an array of specific tasks, such networks also determine the structure of buildings, cities, and metropolitan regions, if not of entire nations and the planet itself. Yet these vast service armatures tend to be pushed to the background, remaining out of sight as long as they function, as the common observation goes. They are the products of generic protocols often applied irrespective of contextual specificities and eventual environmental consequences. Ubiquitous and anonymous, they have become so ingrained in our lives as to steer the habits of collective behavior. Infrastructure, in this sense, could be considered a conduit of conduct, an underlying logic of space that perpetuates unchecked conventions of production and consumption. Since infrastructure is the embodiment of long-term investments, its impact in determining the organization of flows extends well into the future, for developed and developing countries alike. Whereas the former are confronted with the need to maintain and renew highways, electrical grids, sewage systems, and the like,