Introduction to Binishelter System


2 . The Concept of Pre-urbanizational Infrastructure.

It is well-known that immediately following natural disasters, local manufacturing plants, both local and peripheral- unless they were themselves damaged - enter into a production crisis, either due to excess demand or the absence of raw materials. The entire transport system is typically inaccessible due to the collapse of bridges, roads, or railroads that have been rendered inoperative. This makes it impossible for days and often weeks, if not months, to access storage areas for pre-fabricated, partially assembled housing or the components thereof. It therefore becomes unthinkable to load and transport these components to staging areas destined to become improvised, hypothetical temporary settlements.

Again, it's useful to analyze the choices made by others in preparation for absolute emergencies: In Switzerland, hospitals that have been built underground in a fashion similar to that used for the construction of atomic bomb shelters (I have visited 3 of them near Lugano), and are equipped with operating rooms that in 24 hours can be rendered operational. In the US, there are military bases (Fort Ord, in California, for example), now dormant - that can be put to immediate use by military personnel, whatever the circumstances.

I think that if we want to introduce a new concept of Emergency Construction Science of tomorrow, with particular reference to the idea of Instant Housing, Instant School and Instant Sanitary Facilities, we should limit the discussion of a modern urbanization to that part of the structure which is above ground. The infrastructure, in the context of territorial and urban planning, made of railroads, sewage, drinking water, electricity, and the telecommunications systems upon which the individual houses can be constructed, must be pre-made and capable of receiving instant utilization following a calamity or other unexpected event. It is well known that the infrastructure of a settlement represents the most expensive aspect of the creation of a city, both in terms of time and money. Therefore we must focus our attention on how we can make this type of project economically feasible by obtaining immediate returns from the initial investments. In other words, we must evaluate a priori how to recuperate the investment and how to maintain this infrastructure over time. If one accepts this approach, let's see how we can make the embryo for a city infrastructure an economically feasible proposition, even as it awaits its intended utilization in the event of an emergency.

Regional or national planning authorities could first pre-select areas destined for future urbanization which could be easily connected to primary communication networks, such as railroads and electric power grids. In these areas, designated to be partially urbanized, one could promote development through tax and economic incentives. Further, the infrastructure could be used to host agricultural fairs, auto shows, sports events, rock concerts, malls, office depots, and fashion outlets. I believe that conceptualization of a model which has as its purpose a practical economic development within the framework of a pre-urbanized infrastructure would be a good strategy to follow.