Infrastructure is a means to an end – but it is not the only means.
As ends change, traditional infrastructure may not even be the best means. In ‘Talking Infrastructure’ we consider technological, demographic, environmental and other change and its impact on criteria for infrastructure decision-making.
Do we really want a road – or do we want to get from A to B? And what is so attractive about B anyway? Is it where we want to work, or shop, or play? Technology today is changing how we do all three. The key to understanding what technology can do, and how fast it can do it, is to recognise that it must be accompanied by cultural or organisational change. For example, Geoff Hudson, speaking on the ABC radio show, Okham’s Razor, argued that technology has made it possible for effective working from home for many years now and yet few businesses use it. He puts forward a detailed and fascinating plan for overcoming disadvantages currently experienced – lack of connection, suspicion, lack of control amongst others. ‘OK, so it is possible’ you might say, ‘but why bother?’ The answer lies in the interconnection of the new digital technology and physical infrastructure. We build more roads every year, yet congestion gets worse, commute times get longer, house prices in the cities rise and become unaffordable for many. Now ask yourselves, as we adopt voice instruction for our computers over keyboards, can our open space offices cope? Working from home can aleviate many problems – if we can solve the cultural and organisational problems.
So our first question, designed to expand awareness, is this:
Which technologies – e.g. iPhones, driverless cars, 3D printing, nanotechnology, bio-technology, you name it, are likely to increase the demand for roads and which are likely to reduce it – and why?
Links welcome but provide a brief summary for each so that following the link is optional and limit them to two links or the system may think you are spam and throw you out!