Today there exists a prevalent trend within urban design and planning debate – it concerns the thorny issue of the integration of large-scale infrastructure within the urban fabric. Large-scale infrastructure is often viewed as a necessary evil. Highways, railroads, docks and airports are usually seen as an inconvenience for planners within cities, due to their physical, social and economic barriers – but they provide vital mobility for cultural, political, social and economic activities. This infrastructural duality results in an organisational nightmare. Duties and responsibilities concerning infrastructure and the city are regulated by two opposing institutional camps – port authorities and city planning departments.
> Who Owns The Infrastructure?
Large-scale infrastructure is no longer remembered as being part of the public domain, even though they are massively funded by public authorities. An urgent re-conceptualisation of infrastructure as public space is required to secure the future integration of infrastructure with other urban elements. Infrastructural systems should be designed with both uncertainty and stability. Uncertainty concerning potential future programmes for the infrastructure’s architectural elements and stability in terms of providing enduring benefits for the city.
|+ Cities in Transition - fragmented urban domain [CTW 2010]|
Infrastructural elements may possess one of three differing relationships with its host city. It may embody a city’s sense of independence or be a symbol of identity. It may conversely represent a symbol of doom, an abomination upon the urban landscape. Alternatively, infrastructure may exist a neutral component in everyday life; neither threatening nor comforting, just utilitarian. Infrastructural system’s success is all-too often measured purely in economic terms. This fails to take into account the massive urban transformation that may result from the insertion of new infrastructural elements. Ultimately, these transformations may emerge as wholly new spatial and architectural qualities within the city.