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Infrastructure is the physical, social and digital fabric that underpins our civilised world. When successful, it enhances our quality of life, and allows us to live, to work, to trade, to travel and to communicate. When critical infrastructure fails, we suffer disruption, delay and social dislocation, sometimes with catastrophic results. When the delivery of new infrastructure exceeds budgets, it costs society dear.
The world is changing. Extreme weather events are more frequent, natural resources are diminishing, the potential for conflict to protect scarce resources is increasing, and our global economy has experienced unprecedented shocks. Stability is now more challenging to guarantee. Change is the new norm.
Understanding how our infrastructure supports our life-essentials during these times of constant change is a complex system-of-systems problem. It requires many knowledge sources, many skills and many perspectives. Multi-disciplined teams, with the ability to use data intelligently and with meaning, are needed to address the challenges of building and maintaining infrastructure systems that are resilient, sustainable and adaptable.
A world without well-functioning infrastructure is a world without an equitable future for all. Data driven innovation can re-boot our ageing infrastructure and make it smarter, more sustainable, more resilient and better focussed on improving the quality of life – for all.