Building resilient infrastructure is the core foundation of every successful community. It is required to meet future challenges of mass urbanisation, provision of health facilities, utilisation of renewable resources, digitisation, and sustainability.
In addition, the promotion of innovative technologies and access to information for people to make better decisions is needed. The construction of resilient infrastructure will bring prosperity, create jobs, and improve the availability of energy resources.
In contrast, people living in urban areas face many difficulties pursuing their demands. A large number of rural migrants move to urban areas, doubling the demand for housing in a short span. Here are some of the reasons for building resilient infrastructure for cities.
What is Resilient Infrastructure?
As the name implies, resilient infrastructure includes vital buildings, public communal facilities, transit systems, telecommunications, and power systems that are strategically planned and designed to withstand the impact of any natural disaster like a flood, earthquake, or wildfire.
In addition, building resilient infrastructure in the cities or towns considers architectural improvements to reduce the potential of natural damage caused by disasters.
Disruption to infrastructure is caused by natural disasters such as extreme weather events becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. People living in urban areas are also at risk from natural hazards. However, proofing infrastructure against these risks is becoming a major demand of citizens
Building new infrastructure or upgrading existing facilities is becoming essential. Moreover, resilient infrastructure is the central objective of achieving sustainability. Making resilient infrastructure in low and middle-income countries can also create double benefits for investors.
Qualities of Resilient Infrastructure?
Increasing the qualities of the individual systems that make up a city to improve the resilience of the infrastructure overall. These resilient systems withstand, respond to, and adapt more readily to shocks and stresses to emerge stronger after tough times and live better in good times.
Extensive research at IIPS has shown that resilient infrastructure demonstrates the following qualities:
Having these qualities makes an infrastructure resilient, which will enable it to withstand natural disasters.
Why Future Cities Need Resilient Infrastructure?
Most cities worldwide face enormous challenges of climate change, urbanisation, population increase, economic expansion, environmental deterioration, etc. Building resilient societies and economies have been an important goal in creating sustainable cities and communities.
Integrating the smart city into a sustainable city can overcome urban complexities to support social-ecological-engineering resilience. In particular, resilient infrastructure utilises Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other intelligent information technology to enhance cities’ capability of resisting, absorbing, and adapting to external changes. Therefore, future cities need resilient infrastructure to stabilise their building structure in an emergency such as a flood or earthquake.
How Will Resilient Infrastructure Help in Tackling Urbanisation Challenges?
Effective and reliable infrastructure can deliver energy, mobility, water, sanitation, and information daily and during unplanned or unpredictable situations.
The resilient infrastructure can overcome the challenges of urbanisation through proper planning, designing, and management systems that ensure citizens’ safety, mobility, and access to energy sources.
More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, which is forecasted to double by 2050. If the trend continues, the total urban built-up area will expand to millions of square kilometres globally. As more people are moving to cities, the need for infrastructure development has soared high.
Cities contribute to the global GDP, improve productivity, and foster innovation. Their expansion creates demand for jobs, affordable housing, transport infrastructure, and basic services, particularly for the urban poor living in informal settlements in or near cities.
Major infrastructure projects, including building airports, high-speed rail, hospitals, smart residences, and well-designed parks, are needed to meet residential demand.
Digitisation and Smart Living
Another major reason is that people are moving to cities to enjoy a high standard of living. In fast-growing urban areas, delivering this quality of life will require them to become smart cities. Thus, modern technology and modular construction will help reduce construction time and cost to transform cities into smart cities.
Smart city technologies will be helpful in monitoring and managing transport networks, power supplies and healthcare provision around the world. In addition, infrastructure should be embedded with IoT sensors to make better decisions and spot issues before they become major problems.
Cities might be smarter, but physical and digital crises could be more severe without a thorough understanding of infrastructure resilience, and disruption could last longer than it has in the past. In addition, smart infrastructure development requires substantial investments but will be one of the driving forces of cities’ economies in the years to come. Nowadays, building smart is essential to building society or a community as people are aware that natural disasters can strike. Consumers are now more rational and choose smart cities with resilient infrastructure for peace of mind.
Globally, COVID-19 has shed light on the shortcomings of national healthcare systems. Nevertheless, an ageing population is likely to continue to put pressure on the health system.
Planning and management need to be improved in building infrastructure for hospitals to facilitate exceptional health services. In this sense, public-private partnerships can be instrumental in improving facilities.
Modern urban areas require other investments, such as clean water and waste disposal systems, for healthcare to function effectively and to meet rising quality-of-life expectations. Health infrastructure will need to be integrated into the planning process to achieve social stability.
Global residential construction will continue to be driven by the growing population and rapid urbanisation. Despite this, the global economy is facing headwinds. To meet the growing demand for housing, individual governments will need to implement policies that enable the construction of sufficient housing.
However, building infrastructure is the global push to increase productivity, and new technology will probably provide the solution. It has already been proven that modular construction methods reduce construction time, so once scale is reached, costs will likely drop as well. These building infrastructure investments impact the community, the economy, and the environment. Infrastructural development should be about supporting health and opportunity in our everyday lives.