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Shaping Rural Land:
The Lasting Infrastructure of Railroad Construction and Pivot Irrigation

2022 | Academic

The paper was written for Antoine Picon's course "Cities, Infrastructure, and Politics" at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.


Cover photo courtesy TerraMetrics.

Rural and agricultural land in much of the United States has taken the shape of hyper-specific and formal patterns, which have been driven not by the reaping of a harvest so much as the hard infrastructure that allowed the development of the west and mid-west over the last two centuries. That hard infrastructure— railroad growth and irrigation technology—produced particular formal effects on the land that are still seen today. The patterning is only a marking of a much deeper, and still present, political and economic infrastructure that affected the development of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

The full paper can be found on issuu.

Excerpts of the report can be found below. 

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