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Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...

economy
to function. Infrastructure is composed of public and private physical structures such as
road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: carriageways), each with one or more lanes and any ...

road
s,
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and contro ...

railway
s,
bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the ...

bridge
s,
tunnel A tunnel is an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soil/earth/rock and enclosed except for entrance and exit, commonly at each end. A pipeline Pipeline may refer to: Electronics, computers and computing * Pipeline (computi ...

tunnel
s,
water supply Water supply is the provision of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for ...
, sewers,
electrical grid An electrical grid is an interconnected network for from producers to consumers. Electrical grids vary in size and can cover whole countries or continents. It consists of:Kaplan, S. M. (2009). Smart Grid. Electrical Power Transmission: Backgr ...
s, and
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gr ...
s (including
Internet connectivity Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the Internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices; and to access services such as email and the History of the World Wide Web, World Wide Web. Internet ...
and broadband access). In general, infrastructure has been defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing
commodities In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods ...
and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal
living conditions Habitability is the conformance of a residence or abode In law, a dwelling (also residence, abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households as a home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanen ...

living conditions
" and maintain the surrounding environment. Especially in light of the massive societal transformations needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change, contemporary infrastructure conversations frequently focus on
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
and
green infrastructure Green infrastructure or blue-green infrastructure refers to a network that provides the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature.Hiltrud Pötz & Pierre Bleuze (2011). Urban green-blue grids for sustainable ...
. Acknowledging this importance, the international community has created policy focused on sustainable infrastructure through the
Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing wa ...

Sustainable Development Goals
, especially
Sustainable Development Goal 9 Sustainable Development Goal 9 (Goal 9 or SDG 9) is about "industry, innovation and infrastructure" and is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. SDG 9 aims to build resilient infrastruct ...

Sustainable Development Goal 9
" Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure". One way by which to classify types of infrastructure is to view them as two distinct kinds:
hard infrastructure Hard infrastructure, also known as tangible or built infrastructure, is the physical infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a c ...
and
soft infrastructure Soft infrastructure is all the services which are required to maintain the economic, health, and cultural and social standards of a population, as opposed to the hard infrastructure Hard infrastructure, also known as tangible or built infrastr ...
. Hard infrastructure refers to the physical networks necessary for the functioning of a modern
industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For example, one might refer to the wood industry ...
. This includes roads, bridges, railways, etc. Soft infrastructure refers to all the institutions that maintain the
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...
,
health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution of the World Health Organization''– ''Basic Documents'', Forty-fifth edition, Supplement, October 2006. A var ...

health
,
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...
,
environmental A biophysical environment is a life, biotic and Abiotic component, abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in their survival, development, and evolution. A biophysical environ ...

environmental
, and
cultural standard
cultural standard
s of a country. This includes
educational programAn educational program is a program written by the institution or ministry of education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educ ...
s,
official statistics Official statistics are statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conve ...
,
park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is ti ...

park
s and
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is spent away from , , , , and , as well as necessary activities such as and ing. Leisure as an experience usuall ...

recreation
al facilities,
law enforcement File:CBP female officers going aboard a ship.jpg, upU.S. Customs and Border Protection officers boarding a ship 'Law enforcement'' is the activity of some members of government who act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, dete ...
agencies, and
emergency services Emergency services and rescue services are organizations which ensure public safety and health by addressing different emergency, emergencies. Some of these agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ...
.


Linguistic origin

The word infrastructure has been used in since 1875 and in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
since 1887, originally meaning "The installations that form the basis for any operation or system". The word was imported from French, where it was already used for establishing a roadbed of substrate material, required before railroad tracks or constructed pavement could be laid on top of it. The word is a combination of the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
prefix "infra", meaning "below", as many of these constructions are underground (for example, tunnels, water and gas systems, and
railways Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

railways
), and the French word "structure" (derived from the Latin word "structure"). The army use of the term achieved currency in the United States after the formation of
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
in the 1940s, and by 1970 was adopted by
urban planners An urban planner is a professional who practices in the field of urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the d ...
in its modern civilian sense. This article will explore many aspects of infrastructure, including classification, applications, related concepts, ownership and financing, the developing world, and its sustainable future.


Classifications

A 1987
US National Research Council The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (also known as NASEM or the National Academies) is the collective scientific national academy of the United States. The name is used interchangeably in two senses: (1) as an umbrella ...
panel adopted the term "
public works Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the , for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater . They include public buildings (, s, s), (s, s, s, , s, s, s), (s, s, es), public servi ...

public works
infrastructure", referring to:
"... both specific functional modes – highways, streets, roads, and bridges;
mass transit File:201703118号线列车正在开出沈杜公路折返线.jpg, Shanghai Metro is the second largest rapid transit system in the world by route length, after the Beijing Subway. Public transport (also known as public transportation, publi ...
; airports and airways;
water supply Water supply is the provision of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for ...
and
water resources Water resources are natural resources of water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main con ...
;
wastewater management Wastewater treatment is a process used to remove contaminants Contamination is the presence of a constituent, impurity, or some other undesirable element that spoils, corrupts, infects, makes unfit, or makes inferior a material, physical body ...
; solid-waste treatment and disposal; electric
power generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage prior to its Electricity delivery, delivery (Electric power transmis ...
and transmission;
telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that feasible with the , but with ...
; and hazardous waste management – and the combined system these modal elements comprise. A comprehension of infrastructure spans not only these public works facilities, but also the operating procedures, management practices, and development policies that interact together with societal demand and the physical world to facilitate the
transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location to another. In other words, the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of ...

transport
of people and goods, provision of water for drinking and a variety of other uses, safe disposal of society's waste products, provision of energy where it is needed, and transmission of information within and between communities."
The
American Society of Civil Engineers The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a tax-exempt Tax exemption is the reduction or removal of a liability to make a compulsory payment that would otherwise be imposed by a ruling power upon persons, property, income, or transact ...
publishes an "Infrastructure Report Card" which represents the organizations opinion on the condition of various infrastructure every 2–4 years.2017 Infrastructure Report
112pp, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017
they grade 16 categories, namely
aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. ''Aircraft'' includes airplane, fixed-wing and helicopter, rotary-wing types, morphable wings, wing-less lifting bodies, as well as aerostat, lighter-than-air ...
,
bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the ...

bridge
s,
dam A dam is a barrier that stops or restricts the flow of surface water An example of surface water is Lake Kinney. Surface water is water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tast ...

dam
s,
drinking water Drinking water, also known as potable water, is that is safe to or use for . The amount of drinking water required to maintain good health varies, and depends on physical activity level, age, health-related issues, and environmental conditions ...

drinking water
,
energy In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regula ...

energy
,
hazardous waste Hazardous waste is waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-product by contrast is a joint product of relative ...
,
inland waterway A body of water, such as a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without ...

inland waterway
s,
levee file:River Levee Cross Section Figure.svg, Components of a levee: file:Sacramento River Levee.jpg, The side of a levee in Sacramento, California A levee (), dike (American English), dyke (Commonwealth English), embankment, floodbank, or stop ...

levee
s,
park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is ti ...

park
s and
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is spent away from , , , , and , as well as necessary activities such as and ing. Leisure as an experience usuall ...

recreation
,
ports The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Trieste.html"_;"title="Barcola_near_Trieste">Barcola_near_Trieste,_a_small_local_port A_port_is_a_ Barcola_near_Trieste,_a_small_local_port">Trieste.html"_;"title="Barcola_near_Trieste">Barcola_near ...

ports
,
rail Rail or rails may refer to: Rail transport *Rail transport and related matters *Rail (rail transport) or railway lines, the running surface of a railway Film *Rails (film), ''Rails'' (film), a 1929 Italian film by Mario Camerini *Rail (1967 fil ...

rail
,
roads A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadway A carriageway (British English British English (BrE) is the ...

roads
,
schools A school is an educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. They provi ...

schools
,
solid waste Municipal solid waste (MSW), commonly known as trash or garbage in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily loca ...
,
transit Transit may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film * Transit (1979 film), ''Transit'' (1979 film), a 1979 Israeli film * Transit (2005 film), ''Transit'' (2005 film), a film produced by MTV and Staying-Alive about four people in countries in the wo ...

transit
and
wastewater Wastewater is generated after the use of fresh water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the ...

wastewater
. The United States has received a rating of “D+” on its infrastructure. This aging infrastructure is a result of governmental neglect and inadequate funding. As the United States presumably looks to upgrade its existing infrastructure, sustainable measures could be a consideration of the design, build, and operation plans.


Personal

A way to embody personal infrastructure is to think of it in terms of
human capital Human capital is a concept used by human resource professionals to designate personal attributes considered useful in the production process. It encompasses employee knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or someth ...

human capital
. Human capital is defined by the
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
as “intangible collective resources possessed by individuals and groups within a given population". The goal of personal infrastructure is to determine the quality of the economic agents’ values. This results in three major tasks: the task of economic proxies in the economic process (teachers, unskilled and qualified labor, etc.); the importance of personal infrastructure for an individual (short and long-term consumption of education); and the social relevance of personal infrastructure. Essentially, personal infrastructure maps the human impact on infrastructure as it is related to the economy, individual growth, and social impact.


Institutional

Institutional infrastructure branches from the term "economic constitution". According to Gianpiero Torrisi, institutional infrastructure is the object of
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...
and
legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
policy. It compromises the grown and sets norms. It refers to the degree of fair treatment of equal economic data and determines the framework within which economic agents may formulate their own economic plans and carry them out in co-operation with others.


Sustainable

Sustainable infrastructure refers to the processes of design and construction that take into consideration their environmental, economic, and social impact. Included in this section are several elements of sustainable schemes, including materials, water, energy, transportation, and waste management infrastructure. Although there are endless other factors of consideration, those will not be covered in this section.


Material

Material infrastructure is defined as “those immobile, non-circulating capital goods that essentially contribute to the production of infrastructure goods and services needed to satisfy basic physical and social requirements of
economic agent In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods a ...
s". There are two distinct qualities of material infrastructures: 1) fulfillment of social needs and 2)
mass production Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of substantial amounts of standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technic ...
. The first characteristic deals with the basic needs of human life. The second characteristic is the non-availability of infrastructure goods and services. Today, there are various materials that can be used to build infrastructure. The most prevalent ones are asphalt, concrete, steel, masonry, wood, polymers and composites.


Economic

According to the business dictionary, economic infrastructure can be defined as "internal facilities of a country that make business activity possible, such as communication,
transportation Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Engl ...

transportation
and
distribution network Electric power distribution is the final stage in the Power delivery, delivery of electric power; it carries electricity from the Electric power transmission, transmission system to individual consumers. Distribution Electrical substation, substat ...
s,
financial institution Financial institutions, otherwise known as banking institutions, are corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entit ...
s and
markets Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...
, and
energy supply In physics, energy is the quantitative property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this ...
systems". Economic infrastructure support productive activities and events. This includes
road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: carriageways), each with one or more lanes and any ...

road
s,
highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: ...

highway
s,
bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the ...

bridge
s,
airport An airport is an with extended facilities, mostly for commercial air transport. Airports often have facilities to park and maintain aircraft, and a . An airport consists of a , which comprises an aerially accessible open space including a ...

airport
s,
cycling infrastructure Cycling infrastructure refers to all infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the servi ...
, water distribution networks,
sewer systems Sewer commonly refers to a part of sewerage Sewerage is the infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other are ...
,
irrigation Irrigation is the agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated Domesti ...

irrigation
plants, etc.


Social

Social infrastructure can be broadly defined as the construction and maintenance of facilities that support
social servicesSocial services are a range of public services provided by the government, private, profit and non-profit organizations. These public services aim to create more effective organizations, build stronger communities, and promote equality and opportunit ...
. Social infrastructures are created to increase social comfort and promote economic activity. These being
school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is sometimes compuls ...

school
s,
park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is ti ...

park
s and
playground A playground, playpark, or play area is a place designed to provide an environment for child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biolog ...

playground
s, structures for
public safety Public security is the function of governments which ensures the protection of citizens, persons in their territory, organizations, and institutions against threats to their well-being – and to the prosperity of their communities. To meet the in ...
,
waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-product A by-product or byproduct is a secondary product derived from a produ ...

waste
disposal plants,
hospital A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized Medical Science, health science and Allied Healthcare, auxiliary healthcare staff and medical equipment. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospit ...

hospital
s, sports area, etc.


Core

Core assets provide essential services and have monopolistic characteristics. Investors seeking core infrastructure look for five different characteristics: income, low volatility of returns, diversification, inflation protection, and long-term liability matching. Core infrastructure incorporates all the main types of infrastructure, such as
road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: carriageways), each with one or more lanes and any ...

road
s,
highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: ...

highway
s,
railways Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

railways
,
public transportation Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, mass transit, or simply transit) is a system of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of hum ...

public transportation
,
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known forms of , even though it provide ...

water
, and
gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space ...

gas
supply, etc.


Basic

Basic infrastructure refers to main railways, roads, canals, harbors and docks, the electromagnetic telegraph, drainage, dikes, and land reclamation. It consist of the more well-known and common features of infrastructure that we come across in our daily lives (buildings, roads, docks, etc.).


Complementary

Complementary infrastructure refers to things like light railways, tramways, gas/electricity/water supply, etc. To complement something, means to bring to perfection or complete it. So, complementary infrastructure deals with the little parts of the engineering world that make life more convenient and efficient. Basically, they are needed to ensure successful usage and marketing of an already finished product, like in the case of road bridges . Some other example are the lights on the sidewalks, the landscaping around buildings, the benches for pedestrians to rest, etc.


Applications


Engineering and construction

Engineers Engineers, as practitioners of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The dis ...

Engineers
generally limit the term "infrastructure" to describe
fixed assets Fixed assets, also known as long-lived assets, tangible assets or property, plant and equipment (PP&E), is a term used in accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science) ...
that are in the form of a large network; in other words,
hard infrastructure Hard infrastructure, also known as tangible or built infrastructure, is the physical infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a c ...
. Efforts to devise more generic definitions of infrastructures have typically referred to the network aspects of most of the structures, and to the accumulated value of investments in the networks as assets. One such definition from 1998 defined infrastructure as the network of assets "where the system as a whole is intended to be maintained indefinitely at a specified standard of service by the continuing replacement and refurbishment of its components".


Civil defense and economic development

Civil defense Civil defense ( en, region=gb, civil defence) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally s) from s. It uses the principles of s: , , preparation, response, or and recovery. Programs of this sort were initiall ...
planners and developmental economists generally refer to both hard and soft infrastructure, including
public services A public service is a Service (economics), service intended to serve all members of a community. Public services include services provided by a government to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly through public sector agencies o ...
such as
schools A school is an educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. They provi ...

schools
and
hospitals A hospital is a health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury, and othe ...

hospitals
,
emergency services Emergency services and rescue services are organizations which ensure public safety and health by addressing different emergency, emergencies. Some of these agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ...
such as police and fire fighting, and basic services in the
economic sector Image:Economic sectors and income.JPG, 250px, Percentages of a country's economy made up by different sectors. Countries with higher levels of socio-economic development tend to have proportionally less of their economies operating in the primary a ...
. The notion of infrastructure-based development combining long-term infrastructure investments by government agencies at central and regional levels with
public private partnership In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Englis ...
s has proven popular among economists in Asia (notably
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
and
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
), mainland Europe, and Latin America.


Military

Military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

Military
infrastructure is the buildings and permanent installations necessary for the support of military forces, whether they are stationed in bases, being deployed or engaged in operations. For example, barracks, headquarters, airfields, communications facilities, stores of military equipment, port installations, and maintenance stations.


Communications

Communications infrastructure is the informal and formal channels of communication,
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection ...

political
and
social network A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations), sets of Dyad (sociology), dyadic ties, and other Social relation, social interactions between actors. The social network perspectiv ...

social network
s, or beliefs held by members of particular groups, as well as information technology, software development tools. Still underlying these more conceptual uses is the idea that infrastructure provides organizing structure and support for the system or organization it serves, whether it is a city, a nation, a corporation, or a collection of people with common interests. Examples include
IT infrastructure Information technology infrastructure is defined broadly as a set of information technology (IT) components that are the foundation of an IT service; typically physical components (Computer hardware, computer and networking hardware and facilitie ...
, research infrastructure, terrorist infrastructure, employment infrastructure and tourism infrastructure.


Related concepts

The term ''infrastructure'' may be confused with the following overlapping or related concepts.
Land improvement Land development is altering the landscape A landscape is the visible features of an area of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea le ...
and
land development Land development is altering the landscape in any number of ways such as: * Changing landforms from a natural or semi-natural state for a purpose such as agriculture or House, housing * subdivision (land), Subdividing real estate into Lot (real est ...
are general terms that in some contexts may include infrastructure, but in the context of a discussion of infrastructure would refer only to smaller-scale systems or works that are not included in infrastructure, because they are typically limited to a single parcel of land, and are owned and operated by the landowner. For example, an irrigation canal that serves a region or district would be included with infrastructure, but the private irrigation systems on individual land parcels would be considered land improvements, not infrastructure. Service connections to municipal service and public utility networks would also be considered land improvements, not infrastructure. The term
public works Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the , for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater . They include public buildings (, s, s), (s, s, s, , s, s, s), (s, s, es), public servi ...

public works
includes government-owned and operated infrastructure as well as public buildings, such as schools and court houses. Public works generally refers to physical assets needed to deliver
public services A public service is a Service (economics), service intended to serve all members of a community. Public services include services provided by a government to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly through public sector agencies o ...
. Public services include both infrastructure and services generally provided by the government.


Ownership and financing

Infrastructure may be owned and managed by
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
s or by
private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decades from the charts. Both "In Pri ...
companies, such as sole
public utility A public utility company (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a ...
or
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

railway
companies. Generally, most roads, major airports and other ports, water distribution systems, and sewage networks are publicly owned, whereas most energy and
telecommunications network A telecommunications network is a group of nodes In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a Vertex (graph theory), vertex). Node may refer to: In mathematics *Vertex (graph theory), a vertex in a mathem ...
s are privately owned. Publicly owned infrastructure may be paid for from taxes, tolls, or metered user fees, whereas private infrastructure is generally paid for by metered user fees. Major investment projects are generally financed by the issuance of long-term bonds. Government-owned and operated infrastructure may be developed and operated in the
private sector The private sector is the part of the economy An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods an ...
or in public-private partnerships, in addition to in the public sector. in the United States for example, public spending on infrastructure has varied between 2.3% and 3.6% of GDP since 1950. Many List of financial institutions that invest in infrastructure, financial institutions invest in infrastructure.


In the developing world

According to researchers at the Overseas Development Institute, the lack of infrastructure in many developing countries represents one of the most significant limitations to economic growth and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Infrastructure investments and maintenance can be very expensive, especially in such areas as landlocked, rural and sparsely populated countries in Africa. It has been argued that infrastructure investments contributed to more than half of Africa's improved growth performance between 1990 and 2005, and increased investment is necessary to maintain growth and tackle poverty. The returns to investment in infrastructure are very significant, with on average thirty to forty percent returns for
telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that feasible with the , but with ...
(Information and communications technology, ICT) investments, over forty percent for electricity generation, and eighty percent for
roads A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadway A carriageway (British English British English (BrE) is the ...

roads
.Christian K.M. Kingombe 2011
Mapping the new infrastructure financing landscape
London: Overseas Development Institute


Regional differences

The demand for infrastructure both by consumers and by companies is much higher than the amount invested. There are severe constraints on the supply side of the provision of infrastructure in Asia. The infrastructure financing gap between what is invested in Asia-Pacific (around US$48 billion) and what is needed (US$228 billion) is around US$180 billion every year. In Latin America, three percent of GDP (around US$71 billion) would need to be invested in infrastructure in order to satisfy demand, yet in 2005, for example, only around two percent was invested leaving a financing gap of approximately US$24 billion. In Africa, in order to reach the seven percent annual growth calculated to be required to meet the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs by 2015 would require infrastructure investments of about fifteen percent of GDP, or around US$93 billion a year. In fragile states, over thirty-seven percent of GDP would be required.


Sources of funding for infrastructure

The source of financing for infrastructure varies significantly across sectors. Some sectors are dominated by government spending, others by development aid, overseas development aid (ODA), and yet others by private sector, private investors. In California, infrastructure financing districts are established by local governments to pay for physical facilities and services within a specified area by using property tax increases. In order to facilitate investment of the private sector in developing countries' infrastructure markets, it is necessary to design risk-allocation mechanisms more carefully, given the higher risks of their markets. The spending money that comes from the government is less than it used to be. From the 1930s to 2019, the United States went from spending 4.2% of GDP to 2.5% of GDP on infrastructure. These under investments have accrued, in fact, according to the 2017 ASCE Infrastructure Report Card, from 2016 to 2025, infrastructure will be underinvested by $2 trillion. Compared to the global GDP percentages, The United States is tied for second-to-last place, with an average percentage of 2.4%. This means that the government spends less money on repairing old infrastructure and or on infrastructure as a whole. In Sub-Saharan Africa, governments spend around US$9.4 billion out of a total of US$24.9 billion. In
irrigation Irrigation is the agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated Domesti ...

irrigation
, governments represent almost all spending. In
transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location to another. In other words, the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of ...

transport
and
energy In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regula ...

energy
a majority of investment is government spending. In Information and communication technologies, ICT and
water supply Water supply is the provision of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for ...
and sanitation, the private sector represents the majority of capital expenditure. Overall, between them aid, the private sector, and non-OECD financiers exceed government spending. The private sector spending alone equals state capital expenditure, though the majority is focused on ICT infrastructure investments. External financing increased in the 2000s (decade) and in Africa alone external infrastructure investments increased from US$7 billion in 2002 to US$27 billion in 2009.
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
, in particular, has emerged as an important investor.


Coronavirus implications

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the underfunding of infrastructure globally that has been accumulating for decades. The pandemic has increased unemployment and has widely disrupted the economy. This has serious impacts on households, businesses, and federal, state and local governments. This is especially detrimental to infrastructure because it is so dependent on funding from government agencies—with state and local governments accounting for approximately 75% of spending on public infrastructure in the United States. Governments are facing enormous decreases in revenue, economic downturns, overworked health systems, and hesitant workforces, resulting in huge budget deficits across the board. However, they must also scale up public investment to ensure successful reopening, boost growth and employment, and green their economies. The unusually large scale of the packages needed for COVID-19 was accompanied by widespread calls for “greening” them to meet the dual goals of economic recovery and environmental sustainability. However, as of March 2021, only a small fraction of the G20 COVID-19 related fiscal measures was found to be climate friendly.


Sustainable infrastructure

Although it is readily apparent that much effort is needed to repair the economic damage inflicted by the Coronavirus epidemic, an immediate return to business as usual could be environmentally harmful, as shown by the 2007-08 financial crisis in the United States. While the ensuing economic slowdown reduced global greenhouse gas emissions in 2009, emissions reached a record high in 2010, partially due to governments' implemented economic stimulus measures with minimal consideration of the environmental consequences. The concern is whether this same pattern will repeat itself. The post-COVID-19 period could determine whether the world meets or misses the emissions goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and limits global warming to 1.5 degrees C to 2 degrees C. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, a host of factors could jeopardize a low-carbon recovery plan: this includes reduced attention on the global political stage (2020 UN Climate Summit has been postponed to 2021), the relaxing of environmental regulations in pursuit of economic growth, decreased oil prices preventing low-carbon technologies from being competitive, and finally, stimulus programs that take away funds that could have been used to further the process of low-carbon economy, decarbonization. Research suggests that a recovery plan based on lower-carbon emissions could not only make significant emissions reductions needed to battle climate change, but also create more economic growth and jobs than a high-carbon recovery plan would. A study published in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, more than 200 economists and economic officials reported that “green” economic-recovery initiatives performed at least as well as less “green” initiatives. There have also been calls for an independent body could provide a comparable assessment of countries’ fiscal policies, promoting transparency and accountability at the international level. In addition, in an econometric study published in the Economic Modelling journal, an analysis on government energy technology spending showed that spending on the renewable energy sector created five more jobs per million dollars invested than spending on fossil fuels. Since sustainable infrastructure is more beneficial in both an economic and environmental context, it represents the future of infrastructure. Especially with increasing pressure from climate change and diminishing natural resources, infrastructure not only needs to maintain economic development and job development, and a high quality of life for residents, but also protect the environment and its natural resources.


Sustainable Energy

Sustainable energy infrastructure includes types of renewable energy power plants as well as the means of exchange from the plant to the homes and businesses that utilize that energy. Renewable energy includes well researched and widely implemented methods such as wind, solar, and hydraulic power, as well as newer and less commonly used types of power creation such as fusion energy. Sustainable energy infrastructure must maintain a strong supply relative to demand, and must also maintain sufficiently low prices for consumers so as not to decrease demand. Any type of renewable energy infrastructure that fails to meet these consumption and price requirements will ultimately be forced out of the market by prevailing non renewable energy sources.


Sustainable Water

Sustainable water infrastructure is focused on a community’s sufficient access to clean, safe drinking water. Water is a public good along with electricity, which means that sustainable water catchment and distribution systems must remain affordable to all members of a population. "Sustainable Water" may refer to a nation or community's ability to be self-sustainable, with enough water to meet multiple needs including agriculture, industry, sanitation, and drinking water. It can also refer to the holistic and effective management of water resources. Increasingly, policy makers and regulators are incorporating Nature-based solutions (NBS or NbS) into attempts to achieve sustainable water infrastructure.


Sustainable Waste Management

Sustainable waste management systems aim to minimize the amount of waste products produced by individuals and corporations. Commercial waste management plans have transitioned from simple waste removal plans into comprehensive plans focused on reducing the total amount of waste produced before removal. Sustainable waste management is beneficial environmentally, but also can cut costs for businesses that reduce their amount of disposed goods.


Sustainable Transportation

Sustainable transportation includes a shift away from private, greenhouse gas emitting cars in favor of adopting methods of transportation that are either carbon neutrality, carbon neutral or reduce carbon emissions such as bikes or electric bus systems. Additionally, cities must invest in the appropriate built environments for these ecologically preferable modes of transportation. Cities will need to invest in public transportation networks, as well as bike path networks among other sustainable solutions that incentivize citizens to use these alternate transit options. Reducing the urban dependency on cars is a fundamental goal of developing sustainable transportation, and this cannot be accomplished without a coordinated focus on both creating the methods of transportation themselves and providing them with networks that are equally or more efficient than existing car networks such as aging highway systems.


Sustainable Materials

Another solution to transition into a more sustainable infrastructure is using more sustainable materials. A material is sustainable if the needed amount can be produced without depleting non-renewable resources. It also should have low environmental impacts by not disrupting the established steady-state equilibrium of it. The materials should also be resilient, renewable, reusable, and recyclable. Today, concrete is one of the most common materials used in infrastructure. There is twice as much concrete used in construction than all other building materials combined. It is the backbone of industrialization, as it is used in bridges, piers, pipelines, pavements, and buildings. However, while they do serve as a connection between cities, transportation for people and goods, and protection for land against flooding and erosion, they only last for 50 to 100 years. Many were built within the last 50 years, which means many infrastructures are needing substantial maintenance to continue functioning. However, concrete is not sustainable. The production of concrete contributes up to 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A tenth of the world’s industrial water usage is from producing concrete. Even transporting the raw materials to concrete production sites adds to airborne pollution. Furthermore, the production sites and the infrastructures themselves all strip away agricultural land that could have been fertile soil or habitats vital to the ecosystem.


Green infrastructure

Green infrastructure is a type of sustainable infrastructure. Green infrastructure uses plant or soil systems to restore some of the natural processes needed to manage water and create healthier urban environments. In a more practical sense, it refers to a decentralized network of stormwater management practices, which includes green roofs, trees, bioretention and infiltration, and permeable pavement. Green infrastructure has become an increasingly popular strategy in recent years due to its effectiveness in providing ecological, economic, and social benefits—including positively impacting energy consumption, air quality, and carbon reduction and sequestration.


Green roofs

A green roof is a rooftop that is partially or completely covered with growing vegetation planted over a membrane. It also includes additional layers, including a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. There are several categories of green roofs, including extensive (have a growing media depth ranging from two to six inches) and intensive (have a growing media with a depth greater than six inches). One benefit of green roofs is that they reduce stormwater runoff because of its ability to store water in its growing media, reducing the runoff entering the sewer system and waterways, which also decreases the risk of combined sewer overflows. Another benefit is that they reduce energy usage since the growing media provides additional insulation, reduces the amount of solar radiation on the roof’s surface, and provides evaporative cooling from water in the plants, which reduce the roof surface temperatures and heat influx. Green roofs also reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide since the vegetation sequesters carbon and, since they reduce energy usage and the urban heat island by reducing the roof temperature, they also lower carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation.


Tree planting

Tree planting provides a host of ecological, social, and economic benefits. Trees can intercept rain, support infiltration and water storage in soil, diminish the impact of raindrops on barren surfaces, minimize soil moisture through transpiration, and they help reduce stormwater runoff. Additionally, trees contribute to recharging local aquifers and improve the health of watershed systems. Trees also reduce energy usage by providing shade and releasing water into the atmosphere which cools the air and reduces the amount of heat absorbed by buildings. Finally, trees improve air quality by absorbing harmful air pollutants reducing the amount of greenhouse gases.


Bioretention and Infiltration Practices

There are a variety of types of bioretention and infiltration practices, including rain gardens and bioswales. A rain garden is planted in a small depression or natural slope and includes native shrubs and flowers. They temporarily hold and absorb rain water and are effective in removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediments from the runoff. As a result, they soak 30% more water than conventional gardens. Bioswales are planted in paved areas like parking lots or sidewalks and are made to allow for overflow into the sewer system by trapping silt and other pollutants, which are normally left over from impermeable surfaces. Both rain gardens and bioswales mitigate flood impacts and prevent stormwater from polluting local waterways; increase the usable water supply by reducing the amount of water needed for outdoor irrigation; improve air quality by minimizing the amount of water going into treatment facilities, which also reduces energy usage and, as a result, reduces air pollution since less greenhouse gases are emitted.


Smart cities

Smart cities utilize innovative methods of design and implementation in various sectors of infrastructure and planning to create communities that operate at a higher level of relative sustainability than their traditional counterparts. In a sustainable city, urban resilience as well as infrastructure reliability must both be present. Urban resilience is defined by a city’s capacity to quickly adapt or recover from infrastructure defects, and infrastructure reliability means that systems must work efficiently while continuing to maximize their output. When urban resilience and infrastructure reliability interact, cities are able to produce the same level of output at similarly reasonable costs as compared to other non sustainable communities, while still maintaining ease of operation and usage.


Masdar City

Masdar City is a proposed zero emission smart city that will be contracted in the United Arab Emirates. Some individuals have referred to this planned settlement as “utopia-like”, due to the fact that it will feature multiple sustainable infrastructure elements, including energy, water, waste management, and transportation. Masdar City will have a power infrastructure containing renewable energy methods including solar energy. Masdar City is located in a desert region, meaning that sustainable collection and distribution of water is dependent on the city’s ability to utilize water at innovative stages of the water cycle. Masdar City will use groundwater, greywater, seawater, blackwater, and other water resources to obtain both drinking and landscaping water. Initially, Masdar City will be waste-free. Recycling and other waste management and waste reduction methods will be encouraged. Additionally, the city will implement a system to convert waste into fertilizer, which will decrease the amount of space needed for waste accumulation as well as provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fertilizer production methods. No cars will be allowed in Masdar City, contributing to low carbon emissions within the city boundaries. Instead, alternative transportation options will be prioritized during infrastructure development. This means that a bike lane network will be accessible and comprehensive, and other options will also be available.


See also

* Airport infrastructure * Asset Management Plan * Green infrastructure * Infrastructure as a service * Infrastructure asset management * Infrastructure security * Logistics * Megaproject * Project finance * Pseudo-urbanization * Public capital * Sustainable architecture * Sustainable engineering


References


Bibliography

* Koh, Jae Myong (2018) ''Green Infrastructure Financing: Institutional Investors, PPPs and Bankable Projects'', London: Palgrave Macmillan. . * Nurre, Sarah G. "Restoring infrastructure systems: An integrated network design and scheduling (INDS) problem." ''European Journal of Operational Research''. (12/2012), 223 (3), pp. 794–806. * * Larry W. Beeferman, "Pension Fund Investment in Infrastructure: A Resource Paper", ''Capital Matter'' (Occasional Paper Series), No. 3 December 2008 * A. Eberhard, "Infrastructure Regulation in Developing Countries", ''PPIAF Working Paper No. 4'' (2007) World Bank * M. Nicolas J. Firzli and Vincent Bazi, "Infrastructure Investments in an Age of Austerity: The Pension and Sovereign Funds Perspective", published jointly in ''Revue Analyse Financière'', Q4 2011 issue, pp. 34–37 and USAK/JTW July 30, 2011 (online edition) * * * Georg Inderst, "Pension Fund Investment in Infrastructure", ''OECD Working Papers on Insurance and Private Pensions'', No. 32 (2009) *


External links


Body of Knowledge on Infrastructure Regulation

Next Generation Infrastructures international research programme

Report Card on America's Infrastructure

Dirk van Laak: ''Infrastructures''
version: 1.0, in: Docupedia Zeitgeschichte, 20th may 2021 {{Authority control Infrastructure, Construction Technology in society