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Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure for the Next Generation

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2023) | Viewed by 5910

Special Issue Editor

Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Interests: urban liveability, resilience and sustainability—with a specific interest in the link between the built environment, infrastructure and wellbeing—and how these aspects can be usefully determined, measured and communicated to decision makers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The International Symposia for Next-Generation Infrastructure (ISNGI) provide a platform for infrastructure systems’ research and practice, and especially for transdisciplinary research that seeks to conceptualise, enact and model an integrative and system-of-systems approach to infrastructure. This Special Issue draws together a selection of the contributions received for ISNGI 2022, held on the 7–9 September in Rotterdam.

The papers explore how infrastructure plays a dual role: the infrastructure system itself must be sustainable and resilient, but it must also support economic, environmental and societal sustainability and resilience. All aspects of a nation’s economy, environment and society are enabled, either directly or indirectly, by infrastructure. National infrastructure with low sustainability and resilience jeopardises the short-term realisation of all national strategic objectives and risks initiating a long-term downward spiral in which the cumulative impacts of repeat disruptions undermine the quality of life, reduce productivity and GDP, damage industry and investor confidence, impair tax revenues, undermine international competitiveness and channel national investment away from long-term priorities into short-term responsive expenditure. Infrastructure that is not sustainable and resilient is susceptible to disruption with greater frequency, on a larger scale, with higher intensity, for longer durations and at a greater cost than its more sustainable and resilient counterparts, yet not all strategic challenges and hazards are known (such as natural disasters) or are easily predictable (such as climate change), making preparedness of infrastructure systems a potentially uncertain and expensive undertaking.

National infrastructure is more than a mere collection of physical assets. It is a complex interdependent system of physical infrastructure, governance structures, regulatory frameworks, decision-making processes and interdependencies between assets, within networks, between sectors and with the dynamic external environment in which it operates. Quality of life, social cohesion, economic prosperity and productivity are all emergent outcomes enabled by national infrastructure. As such, infrastructure is, potentially, a powerful leverage point to support societal transformation.

Dr. Joanne Leach
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • sustainable infrastructure
  • resilient infrastructure
  • infrastructure management
  • infrastructure investment
  • systems thinking
  • innovation
  • smart cities

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 577 KiB  
Article
Dealing with Cross-Sectoral Uncertainty: A Case Study on Governing Uncertainty for Infrastructures in Transition
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3750; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043750 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1280
Abstract
The interdependencies between infrastructures are growing. Engineering decision making that earlier was largely confined to a specific sector now requires more and more understanding of how systems interact: a system-of-systems perspective. The article analyzes the effect of that added complexity in a single [...] Read more.
The interdependencies between infrastructures are growing. Engineering decision making that earlier was largely confined to a specific sector now requires more and more understanding of how systems interact: a system-of-systems perspective. The article analyzes the effect of that added complexity in a single case study in de Zuid-As, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and relates the findings to the literature on engineering decision making and project management in complex projects. The article concludes that cross-sectoral engineering decision making has an additional level of complexity that requires governance of uncertainty. Despite this challenge being a well-known challenge among infrastructure operators, it is still not recognized for its importance, and it seems to be a neglected element in collaboration. Key is an open approach in the early stages that goes beyond classic cooperative decision making in engineering and project management environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure for the Next Generation)
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14 pages, 299 KiB  
Article
From Debt to Green Growth: A Policy Proposal
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3506; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043506 - 14 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1408
Abstract
Concurrent and overlapping crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in energy and food costs, are particularly affecting developing and poor countries, in addition to the continuous and growing negative impacts from climate change. In this paper, we develop a policy proposal [...] Read more.
Concurrent and overlapping crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in energy and food costs, are particularly affecting developing and poor countries, in addition to the continuous and growing negative impacts from climate change. In this paper, we develop a policy proposal and show through a model how an implicit debt servicing standstill for a country with large external debt can be combined with a policy for promoting power generation from renewable energy sources, with positive effects for economic growth and for ensuring debt sustainability. Through a typical decentralized competitive general equilibrium endogenous growth model, we show the long term effects of partially redirecting debt payments to green energy infrastructure to facilitate economic growth and achieve a sustained debt-to-output level. The results indicate that a higher percentage of external public debt increases public capital accumulation, resulting in a higher long-run growth rate, albeit with a slower transition to a steady state. Equivalent results are found regarding the level of financial aid provided for public productive capital. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure for the Next Generation)
19 pages, 1019 KiB  
Article
Collaboration and Data Sharing in Inter-Organizational Infrastructure Construction Projects
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16835; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416835 - 15 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1846
Abstract
A close collaboration between infrastructure owners is crucial to address challenges in the design and execution of next-generation infrastructure projects for sustainable development. Managing and sharing data among parties involved in infrastructure projects, particularly the data required at the early stages of a [...] Read more.
A close collaboration between infrastructure owners is crucial to address challenges in the design and execution of next-generation infrastructure projects for sustainable development. Managing and sharing data among parties involved in infrastructure projects, particularly the data required at the early stages of a project to design and develop an interconnected infrastructure project, appear to play a critical role in inter-organizational collaboration (IOC), but are often overlooked. In the present work, the status of collaboration and data sharing between infrastructure owners in inter-organizational infrastructure projects is studied to enhance our understanding of the relationship between collaboration and data sharing in horizontal IOCs. Explorative semi-structured interviews with practitioners were conducted at organizational and project levels in the infrastructure sectors in The Netherlands. The outcomes revealed that the theoretical benefits of IOC are not realized in practice and that managing and sharing data between infrastructure owners in inter-organizational projects (IOP) face many challenges. The findings suggest that collaboration and data sharing are interrelated in horizontal IOCs and are deemed crucial for the execution of IOPs. The findings of the present study demonstrate the importance of the bilateral relationship between effective collaboration and data sharing and provide an enhanced insight into horizontal forms of IOC and practices of next-generation infrastructure development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure for the Next Generation)
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