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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Moody Engineering's E-waste Recycling Drive

While cleaning out our cabinets at Moody Engineering, we realized we could recycle most of our old supplies, including our electronics. Electronic waste (aka e-waste) is of interest to us because the amount of electronics being generated and thrown out is growing rapidly each year, as reported by the EPA. By gathering these items and taking them to appropriate places to be recycled, we were able to ensure they were disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly way, which also helps prevent this material from ending up in landfills. Furthermore, electronics are made from natural resources such as copper, silver, and other metals, as well as plastics and glass, which all need energy to mine and manufacture. Recycling these products can help conserve these resources and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by manufacturing and mining processes.

This inspired us at Moody Engineering to host a building-wide e-waste recycling drive this November. We are proud to report that over the three days of our recycling drive, we collected batteries, computers, modems, printers, scanners, CDs, phones, vacuums, stereo systems and more, weighing an estimated 550 lbs!

At Moody Engineering we try to find new ways to continue helping our local communities and the environment. We take this same approach in our work and incorporate sustainable design and construction methods whenever possible.