Sustainable Development, Adaptation and Maintenance of Infrastructure
The role of sustainable infrastructure delivery, adaptation and maintenance towards achieving sustainable development cannot be ignored. Infrastructure can contribute to the socio-economic development of society both directly and indirectly through improved productivity. Sustainable Infrastructure Delivery (SID) that considers the economic, social and environmental impacts throughout the project cycle from the design stage, through construction to the operation and maintenance stages should be the new policy direction.
Infrastructure refers to the traditional types such as transport networks (roads, bridges, railways, airports etc.), the energy sector, water supply and sanitation, digital communications networks (telephone and internet) to the natural infrastructure including forest landscapes, wetlands and watershed protection. Sustainable infrastructure has been defined as "infrastructure that is socially inclusive, low carbon and climate resilient". Infrastructure has a crucial role towards the sustainable development agenda due to its ability to generate and sustain economic growth, therefore delivering and maintaining infrastructure system that is robust and can adapt to climate change with minimal disruption to essential services is key. This will ensure that society delivers more efficient infrastructure with lower-emissions and resilience to the negative effects of climate change such as heatwaves, flooding, more extreme winter weather etc.
It is believed that a Sustainable Built Environment could greatly affect the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The universal adoption of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, which set out 17 sustainable development goals, 169 targets and underpinned by 232 indicators is one major initiative towards socio-economic development globally. The delivery of sustainable infrastructure projects could greatly help with the realisation of SDG2 (End Hunger), SDG 3 (Good Health & Well-Being), SDG4 (Quality education), SDG6 (Clean Water & Sanitation), SDG7 (Affordable & Clean Energy), SDG8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth), SDG9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure), SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities) and SDG13 (Climate Action). Maintaining sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems that can withstand floods, keep road systems and the reliability of building structures is crucial for guaranteeing essential services such as energy and water supplies. The paradigm shift towards a low-carbon society cannot be achieved without sustainable and efficient infrastructure that can withstand the effects of climate change.
Sustainable and resilient infrastructure can help with the global effort in tackling the effects of the climate change. The adoption of the Paris COP21 Agreement to tackle climate change on a global level will require the delivery of resilient infrastructure that offer minimum whole life cost. The Built Environment should lead the fight against climate change towards low carbon sustainable future. The UK government's construction strategy target of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2025 based on the 2 degree target temperature increase need to be reconsidered if the built environment can contribute significantly to the a 1.5 degree future. A sustainable built environment designed with energy efficient infrastructure can contribute meaningfully to reducing the demand for energy and eventually reducing the impact of climate change. Retrofitting existing infrastructure can also increases urban resilience to disaster and ensure sustainable cities and communities. The realisation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development aimed at tackling the risk of climate change impact will greatly depend on the delivery of sustainable and resilient new infrastructure.
The theme for this eBook is "Sustainable Development, Adaptation and Maintenance of Infrastructure"; the eBook presents high-quality research papers on best industry practices and case studies relating to the adaptation and maintenance of infrastructure towards sustainable development. The eBook is based on contributions from authors' response to an open call for papers; the papers went through a very rigorous double-blind review process. It started with 20 submitted abstracts through 12 full papers, to 7 accepted papers for this eBook."
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