National Infrastructure (NI) provides the foundation for economic productivity and human well‐being, and is the cornerstone of modern industrialised society. NI provides the energy and water resources that all societies need to function, and enables people, information and goods to move efficiently and safely. Further, NI shapes the interactions between human civilisation and the natural environment. Whilst infrastructure is humanity’s most visible impact on the environment, modern sustainable infrastructure is also essential to minimising human impacts on the environment. In developing economies, providing infrastructure is the key challenge, while in developed countries, maintaining existing infrastructure, which is ageing, is a major challenge.
Infrastructure systems (including energy, transport, water, waste and digital communications) are vital for modern economic activity, but are also major sources of carbon emissions and environmental impacts. New policies and technologies are therefore needed to enable a transition to more sustainable infrastructure systems. However, these need to take into account the long‐term risks due to increasing infrastructure interdependency, which are not well understood.
This chapter aims to consider sustainable infrastructure in an increasingly complex world with a focus on more developed countries ...