In spite of American ingenuity the repairs to infrastructure, in the face of global climate change are barely sufficient.

A massive explosion tore through East Harlem in New York City, leveling two five-story buildings filled with apartments. Most people don’t even know when these pipelines need replacing, and there are no beautiful renderings of the result. According to a report by the Center for an Urban Future released just this week, “many critical components are past their useful life and highly susceptible to breaks and malfunctions.”

It’s not until something terrible happens–like hurricanes or explosions–that basic repair projects to shore up infrastructure become a top priority. That will have to change, for the sake of our economy, the environment, and our lives. A 21st-century city can’t move forward with 19th-century pipes.

It’s not just a problem in Manhattan, New York. It’s a problem all over the country, and the world.

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