April 01, 2020

Vantage Point

J.B. Ruhl

In Latin, infra means “below,” and structura means “a fitting together.” The French coined the term infrastructure in the 1800s to refer to the pipes, sewers, tunnels, and other systems found largely underground in cities. Today, infrastructure is everywhere—below ground, on the surface, in the air, and in the ubiquitous “cloud.” Not much would get done in modern society without all our infrastructure. But infrastructure does not always work as planned. It is costly to design and construct. It wears out. It becomes obsolete. New social and economic developments demand new forms of infrastructure. In short, designing, planning, funding, constructing, repairing, replacing, modifying, and innovating infrastructure is a never-ending challenge.

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