The physical infrastructure of cities and the systems that make our economy possible—energy, transportation, food and water systems, and waste management—are critical to our quality of life, economic recovery and climate resilience.
The economy both relies on these systems and affects our ability to construct and maintain them. As a whole, our infrastructure is aging, under maintained, and largely inefficient, and the impacts of that are not shared equally. There is a tremendous opportunity for improvement and almost no money to make that improvement. We need to maintain, upgrade, and replace our aging, outmoded infrastructure with greener, more efficient, and more effective infrastructure. But that does not mean we need “more” infrastructure. We need to build and rebuild better, not bigger—where “better” means not just efficiency or economy but also better service to the community, more jobs, more equitable outcomes, and healthier—or less harmful—environments.
We need a built environment that reduces runoff, buildings that use less energy, and healthier transportation solutions. But we also need to distribute infrastructure costs more fairly. The question of who pays and how is at least as important as the revenue total. When done right, pricing policy both reduces the total amount needed—as well as negative externalities from energy and infrastructure use—and can reduce longstanding economic inequities.
Through intelligent infrastructure investments, cities can save money, protect the environment, provide jobs to members of their community that need them, and mitigate climate change.
Cities have a range of options when financing infrastructure projects.
Learn more about transportation topics including Autonomous Vehicles and Parking.
In most cities, residents have few incentives to produce less waste. Cities should strive for zero waste, rethinking waste management to encourage reduction and reuse in each step.
We feature two water management topics: Integrated Water Management & Building Rain Resilience