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

  1. 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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  2. i can see the appeal of that sort of more classic travel tourism but would also like to emphasize the possibilities of in one’s own community kind, the city one drives by sort of thing.


  3. 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 …


  4. 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.


  5. cool thanks, like the talk& tour aspect let’s get out and about, talk about “immersion” learning


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