IO: Infrastructure Observatory


Infrastructure Observatory (IO) is a “community devoted to exploring and celebrating the infrastructural landscape.”

Their mission: “to render visible the oft-invisible guts of modern life, and foster chapters of enthusiasts around these structures throughout the world.”

The group recently came out with this pocket-sized waterproof book about “shipping containers and the corporations that own them” (The Container Guide, 2015). They also held MacroCity, a cool-looking group of critical panels and city infrastructure tours wrapped into one conference.

Their main page is a little with interesting photographs of urban infrastructure — check it out. As of right now (late 2015), they are — somewhat obviously — set in major metropolitan areas: San Francisco, New York, and London. However, I’d love to see, in the future, groups like this China, India, or elsewhere.

6 thoughts on “IO: Infrastructure Observatory

    • Totally! Also, I was thinking that this sort of thing — and perhaps it is and I just don’t know where to find it — is possible as a tourist. I like biking Buenos Aires as much as the next guy or a bus ride in London, but touring massive infrastructure sites … that would be amazing.


  1. Also, I’m working my way toward a new class devoted only to this sort of thing — engaging infrastructure, through many lenses (architectural, structural engineering, hydrology, artistry, etc. and I’m thinking that it cannot be something that I want to nerd-out on, it needs to be something that college students uninterested in infrastructure would be into). Just need to figure out what that case is …


    • i would think you could help them to discover the physical affordances&resistances of any activity they might be interested in, start with the social, or maybe even with their own bodies in relation to chairs/floors/etc.
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