A presentation conducted by Professor Edward J Blakely, Honorary Professor, Urban & disaster recovery expert, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney.
Presented on Thursday the 3rd of October 2013.
What we term infrastructure today is the built up environment created in the last 100 years to move people and commerce, heat and cool. This infrastructure was created as a buttress against nature. It was built to be solid and immoveable. It also had to be upgraded and repaired in the same places to perform the same functions. Future function were merely linear projections of the past. But the past is no longer prologue. Too much of what we term infrastructure today is not useful for solving today’s problems let along tomorrows. Would we ever create cities on the ocean’s edge, if we knew of sea-level rise? Would we ever create massive non adaptable fixed power stations if we knew fuels would dwindle and centralized systems would be dangerous and unsustainable? We know the answers. But we continue to march backward to the future. In this talk I want to look back to ancient times where cities failed because they were not adaptable and project a future where we will have to create re-generative infrastructure that adapts to its environment and settlement systems that are light on the
environment rather than fixed and heavy. This approach calls for a total re-thinking of urban settlement systems and a new generative infrastructure to support them.