Reinventing Urban Infrastructure: Innovative Design Solutions


  • How to track the definition and history of infrastructure—from soft infrastructure to hard infrastructure, from industrial to government infrastructure—and redefine it in the context of urban practices today

  • Case studies that demonstrate different ways to approach the reinvention of infrastructure in culturally and historically conscious ways

  • How to share new techniques and approaches for integrating defunct infrastructure in the landscape  and how to show the impact of reinventing infrastructure in regard to sustainable communities


The term "infrastructure" is changing in the urban environment. It now encompasses a surprising range of physical and digital assets, from power plants, utilities, and mass transit to parks, the co-sharing economy, incubators, and social media. The interaction between "hard" and "soft" infrastructure is redefining the architecture and public spaces of our cities in surprising and radical ways.

While our understanding is transforming, leftover edges and deteriorating downtowns remain hobbled by outdated infrastructure. Elevated highways, crumbling bridges, former industrial waterfronts, and polluted brownfields choke the underutilized edges and decayed downtowns of our cities. They create barriers, hobble economic development, and divide communities. 

This course uses case studies to help you better understand innovative designs that reuse infrastructure and integrate it with communities in radical ways. The examples—which include historic warehouses, former industrial complexes, abandoned railway bridges, and decommissioned post offices—have combined contemporary design, adaptive reuse, and creative preservation to improve communities.