reading the infrastructural city: chapter five index – mammoth // building nothing out of something

reading the infrastructural city: chapter five index

A quick editorial note: while my blogging may be sporadic in the coming weeks — though there’s a good and pretty exciting reason for that, who weighs approximately six pounds and thirteen ounces — Reading The Infrastructural City will continue more or less unabated and as scheduled, not counting the slight delay in the compilation of this set of links.

Free Association Design links traffic to logistics — including Jessie Cavalier’s brilliant piece Logistics, Territory, and Wal-Mart, which you should really read if you haven’t already — and suggests (correctly, I think) that it is appropriate to read many of the chapters of The Infrastructural City as descriptions of the “varied material expressions of contemporary urban logistics”.

Peter Nunns reviews the development of traffic in Los Angeles and offers a pair of examples of transit “hacks” in New Zealand.

Relatedly, FASLANYC follows up on comments he made on our original post, and pivots to a discussion of Broadway and “tactical urbanism”.  It is well worth clicking through his link to architects Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller’s practice, AGENCY, and reading the material they have collected under the rubric of “hackable infrastructures”.

Following the lead of the chapter authors, Nam Henderson looks at traffic as embodied and cybernetic.

Barry Lehrman digs into the manual of Strobecom II — “a state of the art, optical, traffic preemption and priority control system” — a fascinating subset of the infrastructure of traffic control.

Finally, a pair of posts elsewhere that are not part of the Infrastructural City discussion, but are intimately related to the issues discussed in chapter five:

A post at Design Observer explains the history of and design thinking behind the tri-colored traffic signal.

At the Urbanophile, Human Transit‘s Jarrett Walker contribute a guest post which argues that Los Angeles is, contrary to popular assumption, actually well prepared to become “America’s Next Great Transit Metropolis”.  While such a development (which I would cheer) would present an entirely different kind of solution to traffic than the “hacks” we’ve discussed, mammoth has continually argued that the complexity of urban systems demands multiple kinds and scales of solutions (rather than uniform or ideologically-pure proposals), and we suspect that, if Los Angeles does develop an advanced transit network, it will be complementary to rather than replacing the sort of “hacks” we’ve been discussing.

7 Responses to “reading the infrastructural city: chapter five index”

  1. Mason says:

    congrats on baby arrival, rob! a complex little design/build project in its own right.

  2. very cute kid, congrats rob. Hope you all are doing well.

    Got a late contribution to include in the chapter 5 index:

  3. Congratulations, Rob! I’m looking forward to catching up on the Infrastructural City posts. Stay well. More soon.

  4. […] I doubt anyone will notice the updates unless I point to them, I’ve added a few things to the chapter five (“Blocking All Lanes: Traffic”) index below.  To further ease your reading experience, the links added are: contributions to the traffic […]

  5. namhenderson says:

    The thing I found most interesting about Jarrett Walker’s piece is this graph.
    Sooner or later, most of these boulevards will need to give over two lanes to crowded and efficient transit services, which will move far more people per hour than car lanes do.

    This in particular it seems to me could be considered within the “hack” typology that we have been discussing.
    Especially if as opposed to new light rail or some other sort of capital intensive project, the lanes were turned into BRT or pedestrian/bicyclist etc through-ways. Or maybe some sort of combo of all three like I have seen in some other cities do.

    I think you guys have pondered this before but it seems to suggest there that are certain cities which by the very nature/layout of their form/physical structures, are more plausible sites of hacking.

    • rob says:

      This in particular it seems to me could be considered within the “hack” typology that we have been discussing.

      Yes. In a mature infrastructural city — like Los Angeles (as opposed to, say, Shenzhen) — opportunities to build new infrastructures are likely to almost always be “hack”-ing opportunities. (Non-“hack”‘s, like maybe Boston’s Big Dig, will be prohibitively expensive, both in terms of capital and political will.)