The Art of Infrastructure

by Teresa Austin, Assistant Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 9, Pg. 40-43

Document Type: Feature article


Phoenix' capital improvement plan is subtitled Our Share Environment. It requires that one percent of the capital budget go toward artistic input on all infrastructure projects: the solid waste facility as well as the neighborhood park. Other cities are following Phoenix' lead. Milwaukee, San Antonio, Tex., St. Paul, Minn. and San Jose, Calif. are but a few of the cities that hope to link art and engineering by codifying the partnership through city ordinances. What will these programs mean for the engineering profession? City councils have long funded art, and the Federal government often requires it, but usually as an afterthought or as a stand alone component such as the statue or water fountain in from of the library or the mural on the walls of the underpass. The emphasis has been on art in public places as opposed to public art. But what happens when artists join the design team from the beginning and serve equally with engineers? In Phoenix artist/engineer team have collaborated on a solid waste management facility, a highway overpass, parks, a street widening and even in the design of street lighting and tree guards. Deborah Whitehurst, former Phoenix arts commissioner and a member of the National Academy of Engineering's Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, led the city in working with William Morrish and Catherine Brown, directors of the University of Minnesota's Design Center for American Urban Landscape, to integrate the art program into all aspects of the city's infrastructure.

Subject Headings: Infrastructure | Assets | Solid wastes | Parks | Engineering profession | Urban areas | Federal government | Overpasses and underpasses | United States | Wisconsin | Phoenix | Arizona

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