Hybrid Infrastructures: Between the Social and the Ecological
Citration —
Fitzgerald, Susan. 2021. “Hybrid Infrastructures: Between the Social and the Ecological.” RAIC CCUSA 2021 Academic Summit, Montreal, June 17, 2021. In the Hybrid Approaches to Climate Change Futures stream.  Peer reviewed. Held on-line.
Description —
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the Canadian Council of University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA) present the Academic Summit on Architecture. This summit presents papers and projects from schools of architecture featuring the latest in research from academics and practitioners in the fields of architecture and design.
Infrastructures present an interesting paradox within the city. Networks, such as roads and railways, are highly visible and shape the form and growth of the urban realm. Other kinds of infrastructure are equally important to the function of the city, but these infrastructures are hidden away1. Wastewater treatment, garbage disposal, food production, and energy generation are largely invisible within the modern metropolis. They are only publicly discussed when they are in short supply, break down, or need replacing. Yet, similar to their more visible counterparts, these same infrastructures shape our collective behavior, affect our health, and disclose much about how we live in a place, making infrastructure one of the major questions of the Anthropocene. These systems form what David Harvey refers to as the “externality field” that surrounds a city but remains invisible to its citizens; an area that is becoming increasingly dispersed and is taking up ever enlarging amounts of space to support human settlement2.
While infrastructure is highly political, few researchers study the social, cultural, or symbiotic potential for these types of infrastructures to work within cities. Taking this as a challenge, this paper presents an investigation into the cooperative encounter between cities, society, and infrastructure. This study considers the role of various infrastructures in metropolitan areas and reveals how re-connecting citizens with food, water, and waste might contribute ecological and societal value to the city and influence a better future for how we all live together.
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