Riyad S. Aboutaha, Shobha K. Bhatia, Elizabeth Carter, David G. Chandler, Ruth Chen, Andria Costello Staniec, Cliff I. Davidson, Charles T. Driscoll Jr., Chris E. Johnson, Christa Kelleher, Eric M. Lui, Sinead Mac Namara, Dawit Negussey, Zhao Qin, Baris Salman, Svetoslava Todorova, Teng Zeng
It is impossible to imagine everyday life without infrastructures. Roads, bridges, terminals, airports, railways, and transit systems enable safe and efficient mobility. Factories depend on infrastructures – manufacturing systems and robots, buildings, power and water systems, storage and waste disposal systems, procurement systems and supply chains – to turn out goods. Computing and network connectivity infrastructures have greatly enriched social life, and new data gathering devices like tiny sensors and UAVs (drones) make up the infrastructure of many smart city installations. Infrastructures are systems of systems.
Infrastructures are often large in size, scope, and reach, technologically complex, and expensive to design and build. Infrastructures can be publicly owned (water supply systems, parks and urban spaces, infrastructure supporting public health and safety) or privately-owned (cellular telephone towers, utility street poles, privately-owned and operated power plants). Infrastructures can be long-lived (the interstate highway system) but they can also be transient (the massive post 9/11 recovery operation in New York City). Public or corporate, digital or not, enduring or transitory, the scope and complexity of infrastructure design and development demand both hard and soft skills, ranging from domain knowledge to project management, effective teamwork, ethics, design discipline, and written and spoken communication.
Today’s infrastructure professionals are challenged to create and employ innovative techniques for building, financing, managing, designing, and envisioning infrastructure. They are asked to integrate skills and knowledge to address such issues as equity and social justice, threats posed by climate change, calls for efficiency in the delivery of government services, and the private sector’s concerns with reducing risk and delivering return on investment.
The Infrastructure, Cities, and the Future minor is designed to prepare students to take on these tasks and to provide leadership in the infrastructure industry. Students completing the program will be prepared to engage in research and commentary as infrastructure policy and practice evolves. More broadly, the minor prepares students to participate in design, policy choices and decision-making about infrastructure development and management, whether as informed citizens or infrastructure professionals.
This minor is available to all University undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or above. To be admitted to the program, students must submit a Declaration of Minor form signed by their academic advisor; Infrastructure, Cities, and the Future minor coordinator; and the academic dean of their home school/college.