Life On the Grid


The first and most important step to living a sustainable life is understanding where you are and what is going on to keep you fed, worked and watered while being there. Scott Huler’s fascinating account of his trips through the mesmerizingly crafted infrastructure that sustains our modern American lives gets us toward an understanding of a system that ought to be celebrated. Rather than make you try and get off the grid, On the Grid makes you want to cherish it, and maybe even pay for it, and you understand that to go off it is probably not possible after all.” — Robert Sullivan

Scott Huler’s On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems That Make Our World Work has been aptly described as the Peterson Field Guide to the Infrastructure of Our Modern World. Energy, water, transportation, communications, the internet, and the removal of waste — these are all systems on which we depend, but know little of. On the Grid lets us see behind the curtain for each of these critical systems, and by the end of this fascinating book you’ll realize the myriad ways our infrastructure impacts both land and community.

Another eye-opening book that provides a sweeping appreciation for the systems that make us go is Kathy Ascher’s The Works: Anatomy of a City (also pictured above).

The Land Library can also strongly recommend the following books from our shelves!

Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light by Jane Brox, Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape by Brian Hayes, Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte

And for more good books on the settled landscape of cities and towns, be sure to check out a few of our earlier posts:

Exploring Home, Wherever it May Be

The City: Humanity’s Greatest Invention?


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