The aesthetics of power lines

As yesterday’s post noted, Northwest Arkansas was buried in an inch of ice this week. Thousands are without power. My wife and I had electricity until 7pm, but after that it was candles, layers of clothes and an extra blanket on the bed. By morning it was 50 degrees in the house.

A friend from Lincoln, Nebraska, commented on my Facebook status noting that most power lines in her city are underground. While this is probably more difficult to do in the rocky hills of the Ozarks, it sure seems like a good idea, for two reasons.

The obvious first reason in this context is that it prevents tree limbs from pulling the lines down in a part of the country prone to ice storms. Yes it costs more (from what I’ve been told), but some things are worth the extra money and effort.

The second reason is aesthetic: Power lines are not attractive. One of my architecture profs would argue this point, suggesting beauty can be found in anything. While this is true (see my recent artist statement), electrical lines detract from the natural beauty of the Ozarks, or the Plains or any other geography and more often than not I find myself wishing them out of view.


Camerphone capture from a walk in the snow last night

If there are any experts out there with a cost comparison between overhead and underground city power, I’d love to hear the numbers.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to The aesthetics of power lines

  1. Pingback: We are all needy people « Rockstanding

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