Our infrastructural networks, including water, electricity, transportation and telecommunications, underpin our lives, and they are a crucial way that we take care of each other—so much so that they are effectively invisible in their very ubiquity.
But with wildfires across California, contaminated water in Flint, the yearlong blackout in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and gas explosions north of Boston last fall, infrastructure has been headline news. But these failures hide deeper issues: a crisis of underfunding and maintenance in the past and the present, and new concerns for the future.
Not only is our infrastructure particularly susceptible to a changing climate but, as a significant fraction of our energy footprint, it’s also a major source of carbon emissions. How do we create a future where our shared infrastructural systems are resilient, sustainable, and equitable?