Infrastructure is a vital component of the operation of a city. Urban history and development is at the same time the history of infrastructure, too. The development of traffic networks, public utility systems and informational channels has had a major influence on the shaping of cities, and therefore, on architecture as well. Nowadays the majority of city development programs are at the same time infrastructural investments; major programs highly determine the future of a city or city quarter. Infrastructural establishments are creating more and more complex local and global systems, while the dependence on these systems and the consequences originating from the operation of these systems are incalculable from the viewpoint of the society, the city and the architecture. It is impossible to decide whether it is urban development that forces infrastructural developments, or the formation of the cities is exactly the result of the improvement of infrastructural systems.
We live in the age of large-scale infrastructural expansions. The consideration of issues such as cities and urban developments involves considering the issues of infrastructure as well. Some parts of the world are expanding at an incredible pace, and this dynamism is realised in architectural, and foremost in infrastructural investments. While the market by now has become the world, and this market is becoming more and more coverable and permeable, the engineering and architectural services connected with architectural investments are more and more concentrated.
In today's Hungary this question is especially relevant. The local traffic investments are going to be funded by the European Union with 1700 billion forints in the following six years. The state of the Hungarian infrastructural systems is ambiguous: on the one hand, it is characterised by dynamic growth, on the other hand, it is severely outdated. Infrastructural development, in turn, is becoming a question of country-wide significance, which involves several professional fields.
What is the role of the architect in infrastructural projects? What does architecture mean in relation to traffic or public utility investments? What does all this result in from the viewpoint of Hungarian cities? How does it work in case of foreign projects? What kind of architectural quality and design comes into existence during these developmental projects? What are the cultural effects and consequences of specific investments?