Take the infrastructure of any large city. Take New York City, for example. The dozens of systems NYC depends on to thrive – water works, trains, bridges, mail, cargo, electrical, data – are each as complex and fascinating as a meadow.
Kate Ascher is a field researcher who treats New York City’s infrastructures like they were ecological species that she dissects, diagrams, explains, and introduces with great clarity. Once she explains, the surface details that we spy on the street now make sense. Since the infrastructure of NYC is not much different than most cities (except in scale), her tour of New York’s inside and underneath will suddenly illuminate your own local city in a whole new way. Besides noticing beauty where you had not before in the near-invisible matrix, you’ll also come to appreciate the huge “subsidy” that this urban machinery brings to whatever you do in the city. The Works: Anatomy of a City, by Kate Ascher