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Looking to the Future – Infrastructure

The next article in our series ‘Looking to the Future‘ is Infrastructure.

Infrastructure is a potential community project. With a potential usage encompassing all in the community to some level it is likely to be one of the first areas where the group decides to collaborate and share the load. The following areas can be classed as infrastructure.

  • Water supply
  • Power supply
  • Waste disposal
  • Transport Infrastructure
  • Communications
  • Emergency Services
    • Police
    • Fire
    • Medical

It is inevitable that these areas will eventually be set up in every community. The only question is by whom, when and in what order. Will it be an individual who will absorb the costs and charge for the service or will it be the community who will charge a fee? Time will tell and it depends on the make up of the community, the people in it and the local situation.

Some of these projects are easier than others. Many require a significant outlay in resources, material, equipment and/or manpower. Let us look at the high level requirements for each system.

Water supply
Piping water around is a massive investment. Piping and pumps need to be designed and installed. Depending on the materials available we could end up with local wells, aqueducts (like the Romans) or piped water. Probably all three. Usually this would only be suitable for small areas such as a town or commune or, more likely, for irrigation of crops. Piping running water for your homes is a bit away yet. Pipes and joints can be made with ceramics.

Power supply
Power distribution will not be the same way it is now, with wiring connecting all homes. It will start with basic wiring to provide power for lighting and specific electronic equipment such as computers, radios etc. Again, this would be suited for small areas such as a town or commune. Unless you were lucky enough to be near something that could generate power it will be a while before you can get an electricity supply for more than your basic needs. Cables will be difficult to make so make sure you have plenty.

Waste disposal
There are two waste items we are looking at here. Ordinary rubbish waste which would be picked up and dumped and human waste which would need to be processed and recycled. Either way if either of these were to be used in a community wide system we would not have the waste system we have now. Human waste would not be piped away at great resource cost but instead collected in a container, similar to a septic tank, and collected when required to be transported to a waste processing site for composting. Ordinary waste would be collected and taken to a tip for recycling and disposal. Both these options should be performed by the individuals but could be a central service as the community reaches a certain size and location density to improve health by reducing disease and vermin.

Transport Infrastructure
Roads and bridges will initially be built by the people needing them to get to and from their homes. Paths to a main road will be maintained by the individual whilst main roads may be maintained by a community group or an individual. It depends on who will be using the roads who will pay and what that payment will be. People may set up tolls and charge per use, usually saved for bridges or ferries as these can be choke points, while roads can have tolls but are expensive to man. Again, what is set up, charges and maintenance depending on the layout of the community. Roads, bridges etc. will be within communal areas and usable by anyone whilst private roads out to houses will be funded by individuals and counted as private property. Private individuals may fund public roads and set up tolls but it should only be by prior agreement with the rest of the community. Roads will be gravel and wood chippings while bridges will be mainly wood.

Comms will be very important whilst we transition an event and although this will taper off as the hordes die off and the survivors settle down we will always have a need for rapid communications. As time goes on our communications network will deteriorate as equipment fails and we will need to look at alternatives. One option is a simple siren for emergencies to warn of invaders for example but a more versatile system of military type field type telephones would be simple to set up and enable direct communications within the community. Simple cabling, simple bits of equipment and providing we have the wiring we should be able to make sure that is is rolled out as necessary. If we have sufficient power and have prepared correctly we could even set up our own local mobile phone system. What could be better than that? Put the kit away while you can.

Emergency Services
One area that will probably end up with everyone in the community helping with is the emergency services. I’ve defined them as;

  • Police
  • Fire
  • Medical

Basically in the event of a altercation, a fire or a medical emergency I would expect the community to pull together and help. As time goes on and the community expands then you would move on to a part time funded group who would handle any issues. Bearing in mind the Peelian principles of Policing where the police are the public and the public are the police we should have no need for policemen for a while. Firemen and medical personnel require certain skills and it seems reasonable that they get paid for those skills, either as a monthly stipend, or as a usage fee when called out.

Moving ahead
As time goes on all these areas will change, perhaps even the way they are charged but each will become essential to a thriving community and will evolve as the needs of the community change, leading eventually to full time Police and Firemen as well as a solid transport infrastructure and services infrastructure.

Opportunity there for someone with foresight to provide a service in several areas. Alternativly, there could be the start of a local council which hopefully won’t be as useless as the ones we have now.

Next up is Welfare.

6 comments to Looking to the Future – Infrastructure

  • fred

    Army’s been done?

  • Skean Dhude


    Army starts off in the same way as a police force, it is a very similar thing, and then builds up. The Government section touches on it.

  • Skvez

    Electric cable will be difficult to make but it has a long shelf life. Perhaps there is a whole livlihood to be made stripping useful things like wiring from ‘abandoned’ homes.

    Alas mobile phone batteries (lithium Polyer ‘LiPo’) have a life of only a few years. It matters little whether the LiPo are in use or not. In a sever collapse mobile devices will soon stop working.

  • Skean Dhude


    Agreed, scavanging will be very popular for things like this. We should considering having a few rolls of wire in our supplies if we can afford it. Food and living first though. Extras later. I’ve a few hundred metres of power and multicore signal cable from when I used to install security gear.

    We may not have the original batteries but we could have them plugged into lemons or something with winders when in heavy use. We are adaptable, we will find a way.

  • Skvez

    Alas there is no practical DIY battery technology that will replace the necessary power of a cell-phone. Winders do work but they are a PITA to try and use while using the phone. They also tend to make a lot of gear noise when winding them which makes hearing hard.

  • Skean Dhude


    It may be noisy but it will still be useful to us in the circumstances. It may even be a pack as big as a rucksack full of chemicals but we will find a way. We are adaptable.

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