Wires, pipes, roads, and water support the lives we lead, but the average person doesn’t know where they go or even how they work. Our systems of infrastructure are not only shrouded in mystery, many are woefully out of date. In “On the Grid,” his sixth book, Scott Huler, ’03, takes the time to understand the systems that sustain our way of life, starting from his own quarter of an acre in North Carolina and traveling as far as Ancient Rome.
Each chapter follows one element of infrastructure to its source – or to its outlet. Huler visits power plants, watches new asphalt pavement being laid, and traces a drop of water backward from his faucet to the Gulf of Mexico and then a drop of his wastewater out to the Atlantic. Huler reaches out to guides along the way, both the workers who operate these systems and the people who plan them.