IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 20

Commentary
Commentary
High Voltages and Low Esthetic
Standards: Three Design Principles to
Humanize Electricity Pylons
Paul Cuffe
University College Dublin, Dublin 4,
D04 V1W8, Ireland
" Indeed, in my opinion the three most magnificent works of Rome, in which the greatness of her empire is best
seen, are the aqueducts, the paved roads and the construction of the sewers. "
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus [1]
The decline and fall of humane public
infrastructure
 Few people would celebrate modern infrastructure
networks as magnificent beacons of our
civilization: our powerlines and pipelines are drab,
unsightly intrusions on the landscape. Reflecting on
this, the humane philosopher Alain de Botton points
out the Roman aqueduct at Pont Du Gard in Southern
France (Figure 1), which is now a famous tourist
attraction even though it was built for the dull task
of supplying municipal water [2]. Wisely, though,
the Romans built it, and many others alike, for both
beauty and function, brightening citizens' views while
slaking their thirst. Indeed, so lovely is the Roman
aqueduct of Segovia (Figure 2) that it is featured in
the emblem of that province. I fear that today we are
not building network infrastructure that is worthy of
central billing on a coat of arms. While it is true that
North Korea features a grey latticework transmission
pylon on their national crest (Figure 3a and b), I don't
think this reflects popular tastes. Why do the Romans
wipe our eyes on this: why can't modern engineers
build beautiful transmission towers as soaring and
inspirational as the grand bridges and aqueducts of
old? The term pylon comes from a monumental feature
used in the sacred architecture of ancient Egypt
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MTS.2021.3077042
Date of current version: 3 June 2021.
20
0278-0097/21©2021 IEEE
(Figure 4): let us have the ambition to regain some of
this majesty.
With this article, I want to articulate three design
principles, which can humanize and redeem electricity
infrastructure, as follows:
* National distinctiveness: Using an attractive form
and consistent color to create a regional " sense
of place, " where attractively designed electricity
pylons are a fond reminder of home and an indicator
when a frontier is crossed.
* Legibility of function: Good design can tangibly
depict how each trans-mission tower is an integral
and functional component of the cohesive
electromechanical system that ships power
around our countries. This invites engagement
and rewards curiosity.
* Locality and place-making: Humanizing details and
respect for localities can allow individual pylons to
become memorable community landmarks.
Nation-spanning networks are often
charming
In a comprehensive treatment [3] of attitudes to high
voltage power lines in the American landscape, Levy
collects various descriptions of their esthetic impact:
" aerial sewer, " " manmade objects d'horror, " " desecrated
landscapes, " " aerial junkyard, " he concludes
by noting that transmission pylons " provide stark,
highly visible evidence of giant, ill-understood systems
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021

Contents
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover1
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover2
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 1
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Contents
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 3
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 4
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 5
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 6
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 7
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 8
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 9
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 10
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 11
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 12
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 13
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 14
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 15
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 16
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 17
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 18
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 19
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 20
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 21
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 22
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 23
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 24
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 25
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 26
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 27
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 28
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 29
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 30
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 31
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 32
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 33
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 34
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 35
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 36
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 37
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 38
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 39
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 40
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 41
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 42
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 43
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 44
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 45
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 46
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 47
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 48
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 49
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 50
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 51
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 52
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 53
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 54
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 55
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 56
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 57
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 58
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 59
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 60
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 61
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 62
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 63
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 64
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 65
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 66
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 67
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 68
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 69
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 70
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 71
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 72
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 73
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 74
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 75
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 76
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 77
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 78
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 79
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 80
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 81
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 82
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 83
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 84
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 85
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 86
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 87
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 88
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 89
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 90
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 91
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 92
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 93
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 94
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 95
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 96
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover3
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2013
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com