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Restoring Urban Infrastructure

January 30th, 2013

You may hear the word “infrastructure” from time to time when hearing news about your town or government. But what is it? And what makes it so important? How can we sustain the infrastructure of our cities to create less problems in the future?

Urban infrastructure is the system of fundamental, internal operations and functions that operate a city. They can include everything from water lines and sewer systems, to power grids, roads and bridges. Nowadays, many cities are looking at wireless connections, telecommunications and Internet as part of their overall infrastructure.

In 2005 the American Society of Civil Engineers gave an average grade of “D” for most American urban infrastructures. Our current infrastructures are aging and failing, and are in need of an upgrade in many areas. Engineers are at the forefront of modernizing these fundamental structures, finding challenges when funding is an issue.

Urban infrastructures need repair most, because of the added stress higher populations bring in using vital entities. Natural disasters and security issues also continuously threaten our safety, particularly in these urban areas which hold large numbers of people.

The challenge continues as many of these structures must be designed for sustainability. Cities use the most energy and produce the most waste, without a lot of land encompassing. Energy and environmental concerns are at the top of many civil engineers’ lists when recreating urban infrastructure.

How Can We Change Infrastructure?
With many of our lines and pipes buried beneath the surface, creating change takes discipline and creative thought, as well as patience.  One of the first goals for engineers is to map and label buried infrastructure, which will allow for projects to be updated regularly.

Another goal is to diversify urban infrastructure. There is a growing elderly population, as well as a population that doesn’t necessarily depend on cars. An integrated focus will be best, taking all methods into consideration, and making room for all, as things like roadways and sidewalks continue to improve.

In addition, we must look at new inventions, tools and methods for construction. The same old methods from 40 or 50 years ago will not work in today’s society. Advances in computer science and robotics can aid design, construction and implementation.

And also at the heart of any urban infrastructure plan, is aesthetics. In years past, engineers and designers would create infrastructure that was functional, but not necessarily pleasing to the eye or cognizant of the surrounding architecture. Today, careful urban planning allows for bridges and buildings, roads, parks and windmills to all follow an aesthetic plan, pleasing for the city dweller.

The Talley Group, one of the top civil engineer staffing agencies in the country, hires  innovative civil engineers, looking to put cities on the map. If you know some one looking for a rewarding civil engineering career, refer an engineer today!

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