Natural Infrastructure

As mentioned in this week’s readings, even in urban settings humans require some sense of nature to live full, happy, healthy, lives. Parks, playgrounds, urban gardens, and other green spaces provide a much need oasis from the hustle and bustle of city life. The importance of these natural spaces is not lost on us engineers either! More and more infrastructure is serving dual purpose. Just look at the Brightwater Clean-Water Treatment Facility. Not only is the facility itself top of the line with regards to wastewater treatment. But the entire facility was built with nature in mind. The 70 acres in which the treatment plant sit have been developed as a lush habitat for local flora and fauna. The facility acts as both nature reserve and provides miles of hiking path. Many such facilities in the past, have been hidden away as best as possible. I mean who would want to visit a place where wastewater is collected, stored, and treated, let alone have it be visible to the public? But now, with clever design, facilities which have required camouflage in the past now hide in plain sight. If you look across the state you’ll see wastewater facilities, drinking water facilities, power stations, freeway medians, and more acting as some of our favorite green spaces, when once upon a time they were considered nothing more than eye sores.

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