Pluralistic: Deb Chachra's "How Infrastructure Works" (17 Oct 2023)

Today’s links Deb Chachra’s “How Infrastructure Works”: Mutual aid, the built environment, the climate, and a future of comfort and abundance. Hey look at this: Delights to delectate. This day in history: None Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading Deb Chachra’s “How Infrastructure Works” (permalink) Engineering professor and materials scientist Deb Chachra’s new book How Infrastructure Works is a hopeful, lyrical – even beautiful – hymn to the systems of mutual aid we embed in our material world, from sewers to roads to the power grid. It’s a book that will make you see the world in a different way – forever: Chachra structures the book as a kind of travelogue, in which she visits power plants, sewers, water treatment plants and other “charismatic megaprojects,” connecting these to science, history, and her own memoir. In so doing, she doesn’t merely surface the normally invisible stuff that sustains us all, but also surfaces its normally invisible meaning. Infrastructure isn’t merely a way to deliver life’s necessities – mobility, energy, sanitation, water, and so on – it’s a shared way of delivering those necessities. It’s not just that economies of scale and network effects don’t merely make it more efficient and cheaper to provide these necessities to whole populations. It’s also that the lack of these network and scale effects make it unimaginable that these necessities could be provided to all of us without being part of a collective, public project. Think of the automobile versus public…Pluralistic: Deb Chachra's "How Infrastructure Works" (17 Oct 2023)

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