USP 530 – Session 10

April 7th
Session Ten: Infrastructure: Water, Waste, Energy, Transportation, Building, Food 

This session will focus on how changes in urban infrastructure can help cities become more inclusive, resilient, productive, livable, and sustainable. We will be guided by the following questions:

  • Infrastructure: Infrastructure refers to the long-lived engineered structures central to economic and social development. (Slightly modified version of the world bank definition.)
    • A set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and businesses
    • The services and facilities necessary for its economy to function
    • Composed of public and private physical structures such as roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications (including internet connectivity and broadband access.) In general
    • The physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions and maintain the surrounding environment
    • In the face of the massive societal living conditions and maintain the surrounding environment
    • Acknowledging this importance, the international community has created policy focused on sustainable infrastructure through the SDGs especially SDG 9 “Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.”

Class Topics

  1. What changes need to occur in the water sector?
    • Sewage reclamation
    • Aquifer restoration
    • Ban all forms of waterway pollution and rehabilitate waterways
  2. What changes need to occur in the waste sector?
    • Ban non-recyclable materials and anything single-use
    • Mandate recycling everywhere
  3. What changes need to occur in the energy sector?
    • Drastic reduction in consumption
    • Decentralization of production and storage
  4. What changes need to occur in the transportation sector?
    • Mass transit must be accessible to everyone
      • And only then, heavy incentives for not using personal cars
    • Electrification
      • Plus better sources of electricity
  5. What changes need to occur in the building sector?
    • Drastically cheaper construction
    • In lieu fees much higher than cost of building affordable units
    • More sustainable materials
  6. What changes need to occur in the food sector?
    • Crop subsidies must end
    • Nitrogen loading must be banned
    • Pesticide use must end
    • Food shown be grown in small, sustainable, permaculture farms instead of at the corporate scale
  • Common problems with civic infrastructure
    • Inadequate infrastructure
    • Fossil fuel based
    • Inaccessible to impacted groups
  • Infrastructure policy has been identified as one of the easiest ways to have a big impact on the causes of many climate change impacts
    • Our infrastructure has historically been badly maintained
    • The energy consumed by our infrastructure is often not sustainably sourced
  • Discussion of structural adjustment and neoliberal privatization of infrastructure, and the impacts on infrastructure decay
  • Discussed green new deal and the differences from the plan
    • Raquel prefers to think of the rights of people to things like clean air and clean water
  • Categories for DIY project
    • Household
    • Food & Gardening
    • DIY Beauty, Hygiene
    • Crafts
    • Disaster Prep and Survival
      • Josh Ochoa
      • Chris Le
      • Austin Davis

Required Reading

  1. Analysis  of the BIDEN PLAN
    • No climate issues meaningfully addressed
    • Scale of the bill is not serious


  1. Carbon Footprint of a Sandwich –

Importance of infrastructure in cities – pull from Raquel’s book

Case Studies of Ecologically Responsible Infrastructures