Infrastructure walk in Otaniemi
Physical infrastructures are crucial foundations of ordinary life, conditioning our shared futures and guiding individual choices.
Infrastructures connect the far-away to the near-at-hand. They blend almost unnoticed into the landscape, yet they carry hidden costs, about which only experts are normally aware. These include energy or material flows whose negative effects are distant. Infrastructures also harbour hidden risks, such as water damage and ecological disturbances, dangers with both local and far away impacts.
Of course, the point of infrastructures is to make life run smoothly. Today, however, we know that combinations of old and new technical improvements also generate novel problems. As intensified land-use meets changing Earth systems, designing for sustainability and for usability will require new ways of thinking. Innovating for resilient futures demands that we identify and communicate better about both the technical and meaningful aspects of our surroundings, and anticipate problems before it is too late.
An infrastructure walk
Walking is part of fieldwork, a way to learn to pay attention. The infrastructure walk is a convivial and educational practice, combining technical expertise with local knowledge. It is guided but open-ended, aiming at identifying qualities worth noticing.
On this walk, we combine forces with the Environmental Hydraulics Lab of Aalto University to focus on stormwater management on campus. The intensification of construction, more active and varied use, and land use and planning in Espoo beyond Aalto, are exactly the kinds of incremental changes that easily go unnoticed.
Specialist understanding of the challenges of stormwater management will be combined with small-scale techniques for heightening our awareness of the landscape. The goal is to notice what is often hidden in plain sight and then to imagine better alternatives together.
Walking and talking together, experts and users alike learn from each other and from the surroundings. An ancient learning practice, walking projects in recent years have drawn attention to public discomforts with mainstream development.
Professional urban experts can learn from these. Embodied experience leads to understanding the practice, not just the theory, of life in urban space. Besides educational, we hope learning to see with others will also be a joy.
Sustainability requires understanding flows of matter and power. This walk joins the dots – it will help us connect large-scale and somewhat abstract goals related to climate, land-use, water, or sustainable cities to the local environment.
The walk will be hosted by Eeva Berglund and Idil Gaziulusoy, of NODUS, the sustainable design research group in the Department of Design, Aalto University.
The Environmental Hydraulics Lab of Aalto University is currently working on improving stormwater management on campus.
Exploring nature-based solutions to control stormwaters in urbanised Otaniemi
A mathematical model explores the benefits of using nature-based solutions in stormwater design and management on the Aalto University Otaniemi campus.
Hack our habitat
Aggressive urbanisation is straining our ecosystem. Rising construction volume causes massive demand for energy-intensive construction materials, and construction already accounts for 39 per cent of the global CO2 emissions.