Transdisciplinary Design

Squishy Infrastructure

Posted on April 18, 2010 | posted by:

soft_infra_510A recent article the Architects’ Newspaper (here) explored a topic that we’ve been exploring through The New School’s Design and Social Science Committee’s faculty seminar entitled Infrastructure: Complexity, Risk and Design. “Soft Infrastructure,” as they call it (I prefer squishy), describes the shift away from an infrastructure of steel, streets, and hardware toward one of networks, nodes, and configurations. This presents new challenges as we try to develop what President Obama and others have called an infrastructure for the 21st century. Our infrastructure now consists of messy combinations of hardware, software, wetware, and social media. The Seminar has been exploring elastic and evolving definitions of infrastructure ranging from financial systems to network protocols and from ecosystems to listservs.