By Arjan Hijdra – Before I got to write this first sentence, I have been switching the words seriously and unserious multiple times. I’m not sure whether the sequence is now exactly right; perhaps I will switch them once more. What I’d like to say about it, is that infrastructure is seriously important. And that is not only because it happens to be my personal field of interest. No, there is hardly any worldleader, politician, investor or economist who will argue the opposite. So, that is settled then. Infrastructure is seriously important. And not only seriously important, it costs seriously lots of cash, and it has serious impacts on society in a broad sense. Positive, but negative impacts just as well. So in short, infrastructure comes with truckloads, trainloads and shiploads of seriousness, to stay in the terminology.
So what about the unserious part? Well, to stay in the word-boggle, I just as well could have written; ‘seriously unsexy’ or ‘seriously dull’. Despite its importance, infrastructure does not seem to raise the attention it needs. It needs to be maintained, it needs to be repaired, it needs to be monitored and it needs to be altered or expanded in occasions. These latter two activities do raise some interest though, as there are ribbons to be cut when completed. Unfortunately the really exciting massive infrastructural projects often suffer from budget overruns and delays in completion, which is a bit spoiling the excitement at delivery. On the other hand the festivities at opening can be considered the end of an era of headaches, so plenty of reason to celebrate, I would say.
In a nutshell, and not too seriously, this is the dilemma of infrastructure. In scientific publications, reports and books, endlessly much is written about this. In almost al cases seriously serious. But a hundred times catchier, the dilemma is visualised by John Oliver in ‘Last week tonight’. In one word; hilarious! Such a serious topic, taken so unserious, but deadly sharp and deeply concerning. Click on the link below to watch this funny video, and seriously enjoy!