Infrastructure must be re-imagined as a people-centred, sustainable "system of systems" to ensure it is fit for future needs. This was the “simple” yet “radical” proposal debated during the latest ICE Strategy Session
online learning event.
“We must focus on people as the starting and end point of our efforts in infrastructure,” Infrastructure Client Group Digital Transformation Task Group chair Mark Enzer told the online audience. “We’re in a situation now where we must sustain our infrastructure systems in order to continue supporting society. "
“But [those systems] are not yet sustainable, and that doesn’t compute,” he explained. “It’s something we need to address to make our infrastructure systems sustainable.”
Watch the lecture in full below
ICE Strategy session: Systems Thinking 12 May 2020 from ICE Group on Vimeo.
The online panel discussion coincided with the launch of an influential new White Paper, Flourishing Systems, that proposes “simple” yet “radical” ideas to ensure infrastructure is fit for the future. These ideas suggest that the “purpose of infrastructure is human flourishing” and those responsible for commissioning, planning, designing, building and maintaining infrastructure, must view it as a complex and interconnected “system of systems”.
Panellists discussed the key focus areas of the paper – people, infrastructure systems, sustainability and digitalisation - and urged the adoption of digital tools to accelerate changes to infrastructure planning and management. The ongoing socio-economic global challenges posed by Covid-19 as well as the potentially devastating effects of climate change meant the case for change was more compelling now than ever before.
Finland’s capital city Helsinki was offered as a leading example of how digital twinning can pave the way for advanced infrastructure system planning.
Project manager at the City of Helsinki Jarmo Suomisto set out its aims to be the “most functional city in the world”, aided by the use of detailed, high quality, open access 3D models of the city’s buildings and infrastructure.
Meanwhile Sensat founder James Dean and Qualis Flow machine learning engineer Michele Furlan respectively discussed the influence of digital surveys and mapping, and machine learning on civil engineering.
Enzer co-authored the White Paper, which was published jointly by academia, government, industry and influential institutions, including the ICE, the Centre for Digital Built Britain and the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure & Construction.
View and download the Flourishing Systems White Paper.