I loved this morning’s conversation on infrastructure because the global perspectives of the participants were so enlightening.

Vincent Lo commented on the big differences between developing countries and developed countries in needs and resources. He also noted the effects that different political systems have, highlighting that China’s system allows infrastructure construction that an elected politician with a two or a four year term would be disincentivised to support.

Bahram Molamedian noted the need for educated planners and for informed, bold public officials. While there was a lot of talk about long term planning, to me that skirted the issue of technology change and adaptability. I think of all the mistakes past Russian administrations have made including their wasted, and sometimes counterproductive, investments.

I liked Sujata Govada’s suggestion to “think small, think smart and give people choices.” Much of the infrastructure we are building is creating the need for further and more expensive infrastructure. If we instead crafted our urban areas not as expensive, big cities but as multi-modally connected networks of small communities, they could be more compact. Choices like walking and bicycling then become truly viable transportation options, creating a better environment for people to flourish physically, emotionally, economically and socially. Infrastructure to support that model seems to me to hold the most promise for our communities to ultimately be more adaptable, prudent and efficient.