Finding Lost Rivers

In the opening pages of Neal Stephenson’s classic story of a nanotech future TheĀ DiamondĀ Age, Stephenson relates

ecosystems were especially tiresome when they got fubared, so they protected the environment with the same implacable, plodding, green-visored mentality that they applied to designing overpasses and culverts


This came to mind when reading about the reclaiming of lost streams. The bottling of streams in concrete and metal is a common practice in development of neighborhoods and cities. This “fubars” the system, to use Stephenson’s parlance, and causes environmental and health issues. New waves of civic planners and infrastructurists are opening up these lost rivers to counter many of these issues. This also calls to mind a story from last year about the redesign of cities that may be possible when a majority of vehicles are autonomous. These two trends could easily dovetail, leading to increased reclamation of natural green spaces and ecosystems in urban environments.