|Rio Operations Centre, COR|
There are at least three ways to do so:
1. Put people at the centre of any decision
People are the ultimate users; they know what they need and how much they can afford. Ask them and plan the infrastructures starting with the result you are likely to achieve.
The wrap-up at The Economist Urban Infrastructure conference last month in London was precisely this: people, common sense and collaboration for breaking down silos should be the drivers of infrastructure planning.
2. Think holistically
A city is made of many interacting parts. It is a system of systems where each and every one contributes to a common good (see diagram 1). Focusing on a specific and punctual proposal without considering and acting upon its context does not make a sustainable solution. A well-functioning town is a balanced one that gives equal importance to all systems.
|Diagram 1: SaC works with 11 systems|
3. Go simple and one step at a time
Systems can be built gradually, starting with the more important first. This is easiest done with simple, possibly low-tech solutions, which in infrastructure translates into lowering the standards. They can be upgraded at a later stage when the community progresses. It is important though that space for all systems is provided from the beginning without ever compromising it.
At Send a City (SaC) we believe that this approach could make infrastructure travel far. We additionally monitor the impact and cost of every system. This allows the stakeholders (community and investors) to be part of the process and it helps us not to deviate from the essential. We even encourage systems towards self-organization and seek this way to empower citizens to create their urban and social reality while achieving the goals of land development and capital assets creation.
was originally published on Geospatial World onDecember 3, 2014 with the title How to Make Infrastructure Go Viral.
Cover picture by PS. Diepsloot Township, Johannesburg, South Africa.