Extraction Networks: Territorial Patterns of Coal, Oil and Natural Gas
Extraction Networks: Territorial Patterns of Coal, Oil and Natural Gas 开采基础设施网络 Design Across Scales Lab (Cornell University) Urban and regional development is intertwined with energy extraction and consumption. This territorial landscape could be called the “extraction infrastructure network”. The documentation of this network exists in a complex distribution of corporate, government and environmental databases, however, there is little to no representation of the total energy network. This research pulls together the distributed and fragmented documentation into a synthetic representation of the layers and extents of the contemporary American energy landscape.
The history of the American energy economy contains tensions between the economic, environmental and political priorities of each energy era. The energy economy began with the logging of the east coast forests, continued to the mining of coal, the drilling for oil, the splitting of the atom, and the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. Infrastructures of energy transportation have developed as increasingly ‘one-way’ systems. Accelerated automation of these infrastructures has reduced the flow of the products of the city to the communities that paid the environmental costs. This shift from two-way to one-way infrastructures has devastated communities that were created and sustained by the reciprocal flows of energy, such as canals and railways, of the early energy eras. While new efficient systems have lowered the cost of energy in the city, they have also increased demand and have required further intensification of the extraction network.
The growth in economic inequality, increase in environmental contamination and decrease of rural populations demonstrate the inverse effects of the energy economy on urban and rural territories in the United States. Cities today consume 75% of the world’s primary energy. Urban energy consumption has had widespread impacts. An extended landscape of extraction that consists of hundreds of thousands of mines and wells, millions of miles of interstate and intrastate pipelines, and thousands of power generation stations fuels the technological demand of the city. Because these energy networks are not comprehensively understood, the public is less conscious of the consequences of utilizing and expanding this network. The visualization of the interlinked extraction infrastructure network brings an awareness of the extents and expanse of energy enterprises with its effects on the city and region. As cities become more aware of their energy footprints, the web of infrastructure that enables them, and their extended environmental impacts, how will they seek sustainable solutions that benefit both urban and non-urban territories alike?
Credits: J. Meejin Yoon (Principal Investigator), Alexander Kobald (Lead Researcher),
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