Friday, November 21, 2008

A Different Perspective on Undergrounding

The Red Electric's Berlin correspondent, Lizi Zach, wrote the following in response to my protestations about the most recent "overgrounding" of utilities in Hillsdale:

In Berlin, everything is underground. The downside is that there is CONSTANT digging up of sidewalks and roads to make repairs on the pipes and electrical/telecommunications stuff. And it is EVERYWHERE in this city and it is a pain. It's just as much a blight as it is overground and, in winter, with snow and ice everywhere, it is a hassle and a hazard.

So, frankly, I don't know what the real solution is. Back to the Dark Ages, anyone? No running water, no telecommunications?

Side note: German friends and acquaintances who travel to the U.S. always remark to me afterwards how silly all the phone and electrical cables above ground look over there. They see it as a huge security risk — one colleague told me that during the Cold War, photos of the U.S. shown in Germany belittled how primitive the Americans were not to bury their wiring underground — and how naive: "Don't they know what an easy target they are for the Russians?"

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