‘Municipal/Urban’ Category

Fire Hydrant Drinking Fountain

Photo Credit: Jessie Benaglio

The University of Michigan has configured a system to allow those passing by the central campus Diag to use the water from the fire hydrant. They have set up a filter to clean the water from the ground within the pipe of the fire hydrant and attached a drinking fountain and faucet attachment to access the water.

Mobile Substation

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

A mobile substation is just that, a substation on wheels. Mobile substations are generally used when a substation has to be shut down for maintenance purposes and the customer load cannot be jumpered to surrounding substations due to capacity limitations. Since maintenance activities can take several days or longer, it is unacceptable to give customers such a long outage. In these cases a mobile substation is driven in and connected to feed these customers while the main substation is being maintained.

Pedestrian Bridge over Highway

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is a pedestrian bridge over I-75 in Detroit, Michigan. This type of bridge is important because it allows pedestrians to cross to the other side of the freeway without crossing on the road level or having to go to the nearest street crossing bridge. When new highways are being planned and approved features such as pedestrian bridges and sound barriers are many times included. These features are aimed at local people near the project to allow them to live and work near such highways as comfortably as possible.

Water Towers on Building

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here are two water towers on top of an abandoned factory in Detroit, Michigan. Water towers are used to input pressure, or head, into a water distribution system. Water towers are particularly good at this because water can be pumped up at an off demand time on the water distribution system and then retrieved by simply opening a valve when demand is high to ensure that water pressure in the system doesn’t fall too low. This is especially important for events such as fires where firemen draw large amounts of water from the system in a relatively short time. These water towers, however, were most likely used in a process involved in the factory, not for an entire city’s distribution system.

ADA Sidewalk Ramp

Photo Credit: Karl Jansen

Pictured here is an ADA sidewalk ramp. This type of sidewalk ramp is replacing older ramps according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The current standards for sidewalk ramps include details for maximum running slopes and cross slopes, maximum grades and minimum dimensions for landing areas, as well as location of the detectable warning domes. The ADA creates design guidelines that help persons with disabilities navigate our public spaces with ease.

Water Tower

Photo Credit: Karl Jansen

Pictured here is a water tower located on the northside of Ann Arbor, MI. Water towers can be seen all over the world. The purpose of a water tower is to store water needed for the residents of the municipality that operates the tower. Usually located in a higher elevation in the area, this allows gravity to do the work in the municipality’s water distribution system.

Operational Fire Hydrant

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen above is a fire hydrant dispelling what we all hope is there; water. A comforting feeling seems to come when we actually see that water does in fact come out of these commonly overlooked pieces of the built environment. Civil engineers have spent over a century constructing the infrastructure that makes fire hydrants such as this one work. Today this work continues as civil engineers of today strive to update our infrastructure to ever increasing standards of excellence.

Transmission Tower Cell Phone Antenna

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is a perfect example of a double use structure, a high voltage electricity power transmission line and a cell phone tower. Structures of this nature are good, because they allow engineers to accomplish two tasks with only one structure. This is just one example of how society needs to be more efficient in designing structures of the future.

Mechanical Boiler

Photo Credit: Jack Clay

Seen here is a steam boiler used for heating Bursley Residence Hall at the University of Michigan. There are 3 of these used for heating Bursley, each capable of producing 9,000,000 BTUs. In the dead of winter 2 of the three are being used at once, while the third is used as a backup in case of failure. These were placed in Bursley during its construction, in 1965.