Hard Infrastructure is the large networks which enable a modern country or region to work.
Most of the major networks such as transport and energy supply are easy to see but there are also all of the vehicles, people and even IT/software which are required to enable these to work.
Added to this are the homes for people to live and the services essential for both individuals and businesses to do well.
It is proposed that Wales will benefit from two proposed city regions.
North-East Wales will benefit from the proposed Northern Powerhouse.
This will be a city region with its hub in Manchester stretching to the West to Liverpool (and North-East Wales) and Eastwards to Leeds and Newcastle.
The idea behind the Northern Powerhouse is to balance the economy by bringing more jobs to the northern half of Britain.
North Wales will benefit from:
Already projects such as a new 'Super Prison' are being built near Wrexham and new energy projects are planned or are already being built (see issues 12 & 13).
In South Wales a city region has been proposed made up of 10 current Local Authority areas.
The region would be based around the capital city in Cardiff and help to link the South Wales Valleys and the Newport/Cwmbran urban area.
Public transport will be improved with the construction of a new network of buses, trains, trams & light rail transport in what has been termed as the South Wales Metro.
The Cardiff City Region plan will cost £1.2 billion of public money.
Already there is a £5 billion upgrade underway of the main railway from Swansea to London Paddington.
The Welsh Government has bought Cardiff Airport which will be upgraded.
A consultation is also underway on a £1 billion (plus) programme to build a motorway bypass around Newport which currently experiences large traffic jams every day at a 'bottleneck' where the motorway changes from 8 lanes (including the hard shoulder) to 4 lanes to pass through tunnels through a local hill.
Use a GIS (Geographical Information System) such as Google Earth to get a map of a town or city (urban) area that you know personally.
Find map of a similar sized area which is mostly farmland and countryside (rural)
1) Draw up a table to list the different examples of hard infrastructure found on each map. Try to find at least 12 in the urban area and at least 5 in the rural area.
2) What was easier; to find 12 in an urban area or 5 in a rural area?