Blueprint Columbus: Near South - Morrill / Ann Area

The City of Columbus has a complex sewer system made up of three types of sewers:

  • Combined Sewers - these carry both sewage and rain water to treatment plants, where both are treated then released into a river

  • Separate Sewers - these are separated sanitary (for sewage) and storm sewers

  • Storm Sewers - located on curbs or in drainage ditches, these sewers empty rain water (and anything carried with it) directly back into rivers.

Many cities, including Columbus, are experiencing issues with their combined and separated sanitary sewer systems, because they are often overloaded during heavy rain events. This causes combined sewers to overflow into rivers (see image below), which causes public health and ecological problems.

Read More

Building Accessible Infrastructure for Everyone

Steve Krug once said “The one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?” Throughout our lives our physical and mental abilities change as we age, making ability more of a spectrum than a binary concept as we once thought. By keeping this in mind as we build infrastructure, we can make infrastructure more accessible to all people regardless of where they are on the ability-spectrum.

Read More

Growth and Infrastructure in Columbus

Columbus, Ohio is well known for its college football team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, but also holds many other titles and accolades. Recently the SmartAsset report ranked Columbus as the 2nd best city for new college graduates due to its jobs, cost of living, entertainment and dining options. The report also noted that approximately 20% of people living in Columbus are in their 20s making it desirable for recent graduates and deemed it an “Indie Art City”. Among this praise, Forbes also named it the 11th best place (in the US) for businesses and careers. Other honors and awards the city has gotten over the year include the: Intelligent Community of the Year in 2015, US Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge winner, one of the best zoos in the US, the 2010 Library of the Year Award, Best Science Center, and many more.

Read More

Walkable Infrastructure in Cities

What makes a city “walkable”? Who wants a walkable city? How is this related to infrastructure? What impacts does it have on citizens?

As our current demographics are changing, we are seeing a shift in housing priorities due to the two largest generations in American history, the baby boomers (born 1946-1964) and the millennials (born 1979-1996). Many baby boomers are now approaching retirement and downsizing since they no longer live with their children. This makes walkable neighborhoods more appealing to them, located in the denser areas like city and suburban town centers. Millennials also prefer these areas for the way of life and because it easy not to own a car. The Realtor’s survey found that currently only 12 percent of future homeowners favor houses in the “suburban-fringe” that rely completely on driving. By contrast, the most expensive housing on the market today is found in high-density and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods.

Read More

Transportation Infrastructure

Infrastructure has certainly been a buzzword recently, but what does it actually mean? How does it affect our everyday lives? Why is it always in the news?

The term infrastructure describes the various physical and organizational systems and facilities we need to operate as a society, such as the energy grid, our system of interconnecting roads, public transportation and much more. Good infrastructure is critical for a city, organization, country, etc. to function properly and be competitive in the global marketplace.

Read More

Combined Sewer Systems and Green Infrastructure

Do you ever wonder where all the rainwater you see in streets goes? Or what’s under a manhole when you open it up? The short answer is pipes. But these aren’t just pipes. They act as an intricate system that collects rainwater runoff, domestic sewage and industrial wastewater, designed to direct each to an appropriate place.

Read More

Smart Cities and Cars

How often do you use your car? Did you know the average car is only in use about 5% of the time or less? Smart cities are changing some of the ways we think about traditional car use by incorporating new ideas about cars into their visions for the future, with electric and autonomous vehicles, in addition to connected vehicle technology.

Read More

How Do Smart Cities Use Data and Technology?

How many apps do you have on your phone? How often do you check them? Would you ever think of using an app to improve public utilities? Smart Cities are!  

In Amsterdam the app Mobypark lets you rent out your parking space, which generates data about parking demand and traffic flow. Additionally, this cuts down on the time that cars are idling while looking for a parking space, which takes an average of 20 minutes, so apps like these can help reduce CO2 emissions. With increased data collection and smart traffic monitoring, the city can also provide information about traffic and best routes to take – which reduces travel time for individuals and car emissions. Other functions of apps include Street Bump in Boston which alerts the city if you hit a pothole.

Read More

What are Smart Cities?

Infrastructure, often intimately connected with civil engineering, provides the backbone and structure that serves various spaces, such as cities or countries. It provides roads and sidewalks for transportation, a water supply for people to drink, sewers to deal with waste, and much more. In the past, infrastructure design and construction has been reactive. It was a response to an event, like a natural disaster, or a local issue such as flooding or fires. Now we are looking for infrastructure to be proactive and work to solve multiple problems with dynamic solutions, like Smart Cities.

Read More