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Infrastructure

  • By: Igor Vojnovic
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Infrastructures are, and have been historically, the fundamental support network of society. This became apparent as urban populations and their densities rapidly increased during the 19th and 20th centuries. The developing complexity of commodity and information flows evident with globalization has also stressed the critical nature of infrastructure in today's world. Infrastructure is the “hidden hand” behind urban development and nation building, enabling the flow of people and critical resources such as water, energy, waste, information, agricultural produce, and manufactured goods. At the same time, inadequate infrastructure provision, or the failure of infrastructure, generates considerable social disorder. In 2005, this failure was evident in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The term infrastructure was first used to define permanent military facilities, such as dry ...

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