Finding and Embracing Challenges for a 21st Century Community Infrastructure

There is a growing realization that a fundamental mistake of the 20th century was the Corps of Engineers taming waterways, draining wetland with concrete channels resulting in unintended consequences – damaged environment, increased pollution and downstream flooding. These channelized waterways are now being undone to re-establish natural flows and becoming good work for a better 21st century.

Another big mistake of the 20th century was in the execution of our intersate higway system. The originators of the concept in the 1940’s envisioned a system of expressways between communities, not through them. In fact, Norman Geddes, who proposed the system to Franklin Roosevelt also issued an important caution in his 1940 book, Magic Motorways: “high speed, non-stop thoroughfare would only bungle the job if it got tangled up with the city grid”. He predicted to err in this manner would destroy city value. The place for these roads is in the country. The proof of our mistake is the sprawling cities we have created that was facilitated by running these roadways through our communities. The destruction and unsustainable infrastrucutre connected to this huge mistake is evident. In response many communities around the world have begun an important 21st century movement to undo this big mistake. We should join the movement. The following is the text of an editorial in the Shreveport Times on 3.18.12 submitted by a leader in this movement, John Norquist. John Norquist Shreveport Times OpEd 3.18.12