For my specific assignment, I was asked to travel north on Locust Street and find out why I couldn't continue on the street between Green and Springfield. This location was close enough to where I live (even though I had not seen this specific location before) that I dared to venture out into the frigid cold to find out what sort of road block was up. It was not quite what I expected. When I saw this...
I was expecting some sort of concrete road block, or construction work, but instead i found a large, canyon like feature that had been fenced off. I looked around for some sort of sign or labeling to find out exactly what this was, and struggled to find such an identification at first. I took a lap around this fenced-off valley, and eventually found a sign labeled "Healy Street Retention Basin- established 1999". Here is a half camera image of the sign, which was buried behind a large wall of snow.
Now that I knew what it was, I had to figure out it's exact purpose. Turns out, the retention pond in this location is made in order to prevent flooding in Champaign, which this weekend proved valuable, as all of the snow that was previously blocking the sign (and snow all over Champaign) began to melt. This basin is linked to drains (as shown in the picture below) that help the flat land of Champaign stay dry by allowing the water to run into a lower level retention area.
This is a great example to use for different types of Infrastructure. For example, the terrain of Champaign, along with the weather and geographical properties provide a good example of the EMBEDDED aspects of this infrastructure, or the non-technical parts.
It is also viewed as normally invisible, as most people pass by this retention pond, don't really wonder what it is, but simply view it as an inconvenience in there traveling. I myself had not noticed it before, and even people who I've talked to who live closer to it, and pass by it every day, have claimed they have sort of wondered what it was before, but never really put much thought into it.
This is also a good demonstration of durable technology, as retention ponds have been used for decades (even though this one has only been around since 1999). However, there are minimal switching costs if this retention basin was to be used by any other provider. The area is already there, and ready for use with drains in action, and as long as it is being used for the same purpose, there are not many switching costs that i could think of. I am no expert on the retention business, but besides buying the land, switching "providers" doesn't seem like much of an issue where severe changes need to be made.