Planning Infrastructure: Considerations For Regional Development

Planning Infrastructure: Considerations For Regional Development

Phil Heywood (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-775-6.ch009
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Current rapid increases in the scope of regional development and the reach of technology have combined with the expanding scale of modern settlements to focus growing attention on infrastructure needs. This has included organizational and funding systems, the management of new technologies and regional scale social provisions. In this chapter, the evolution of urban and regional infrastructure is traced from its earliest origins in the growth of organized societies 5,000 years ago. Infrastructure needs and provision are illustrated for the arenas of metropolitan, provincial and rural regions. Rural infrastructure examples and lessons are drawn from global case studies. Recent expansions of the scope of infrastructure are examined and issues of governance and process discussed. Phased planning processes are related to cycles of program adoption, objective formulation, option evaluation and program budgeting. Issues of privatization and public interest are considered. Matters of contemporary global significance are explored, including the current economic contraction and the effects of global climate change. Conclusions are drawn about the role and importance of linking regional planning to coherent regional infrastructure programs and budgets.
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Previous research has shown how the dramatic growth in the size, health and prosperity of cities over the last five thousand years has depended on their ability to invent and install appropriate urban infrastructure (Childe, 1951, 1957, Mumford, 1945). Starting with access to water, roads and waste disposal, through provisions for health and education, to the more recent additions of power and electronic communications, the extraordinary growth of cities to their current role of accommodating more than half the world’s six billion people on a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface has been made possible by successive waves of new urban infrastructure (UN, 1995, 2001).

When we turn to the wider regional scale, the roles and relations of infrastructures are more complex. Not only must they support life throughout their own much wider regional extents, but they must also provide central cities with life-giving resources and opportunities for their future urban expansion. Nowhere is this reciprocal relation between cities and regions better expressed than in the infrastructure networks which link them: regional supplies flow to satisfy urban demands, while cities generate the energy and products to sustain the regional systems. Regional supplies of water, power, labor and raw materials flow into the city, while urban flows of processed information, organization, control and consumer goods flow outwards, using and supporting regional infrastructures.

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