Cities and Infrastructure: Synthesis and Perspectives
Robert Herman and Jesse H. Ausubel
Program for the Human Environment
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021-6399
This article, as well as the full publication in which it originally appears, is also available on the National Academies Press website, located at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309037867/html/.
Citation: pp. 1-21 in Cities and Their Vital Systems: Infrastructure, Past, Present, and Future, J.H. Ausubel and R. Herman, eds., National Academy, Washington DC, 1988..
PDF Full Text: cities.pdf
The subject of this article is infrastructure, the built environment in which we live, the way we use it, and how it may evolve in the future. Citites are the summation and densest expression of infrastructure, or, more accurately, a set of infrastructures, working sometimes in harmony, sometimes with frustrating discord, to provide us with shelter, contact, energy, water, and means to meet other human needs. The infrastructure is a reflection of our social and historical evolution. It is a symbol of what we are collectively, and its forms and functions sharpen our understanding of the similarities and differences among regions, groups, and cultures. The physical infrastructure consists of varous structures, buildings, pipes, roads, rails, bridges, tunels, and wires. Equally important and subject to change is the "software" for the physical infrastructure, all the formal and informal rules for operation of the systems.