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Online Course

The Next Generation of Infrastructure

Delft University of Technology via edX

Overview

We increasingly depend on reliable and affordable supply of energy, water, transport, telecommunication and information services to improve livability and facilitate economic development. However, today's infrastructure systems are drastically changing. They are becoming more and more web-based, interconnected and transnational, with increasingly fragmented public and private ownership, while new technologies are on their way. Sustainability, climate change, cybersecurity and resilience pose huge challenges. The capital need for investment in new infrastructures and upgrading of ageing infrastructures is tremendous.

During this infrastructure course you will learn the need to examine these challenges from a new, combined engineering and social sciences perspective. Subsequently we will focus on the challenges that ‘complex adaptive infrastructure systems’ pose for governance, management and decision-making in a world full of uncertainties. We will discuss resilience, ethical considerations and cybersecurity. We will introduce a selection of topics and analytical tools which will help you to analyze the adequacy of infrastructure systems and services, while dealing with the risks and vulnerabilities of infrastructure interdependencies.

In our case studies, we will focus on topical developments and policies, such as sustainable energy transition, resilience, urbanization and its impact on infrastructures, the challenges of climate change, the nexus between energy, food and water scarcity, and the phenomenon of inverse infrastructure development (self-organization).

If you are interested or involved in the functioning of today's and tomorrow's infrastructures, this course is an exceptional learning opportunity, whether you are a student or a professional. The course includes a lot of bonus materials, like problem solving skills and modelling.

The course is based on the results of an extensive and renowned international research programme titled 'Next Generation Infrastructures' (NGInfra).

Syllabus

Module 0: Setting the scene: the infrastructural challenge for the future
Module 1: The socio-technical complexity of infrastructures/key concepts
Module 2: Fuzzy borders: interconnectedness, interdependencies, bottom-up developments and need for standards
Module 3: Complexity theory and why infrastructures are complex systems
Module 4: Governance and regulation of complex infrastructures
Module 5: ICT-architecture and cybersecurity: challenges
Module 6: Resilience and Infrastructures of urban areas

Bonus materials/electives
Actor analysis and problem demarcation
Modeling, gaming and simulation as tools for designing and understanding infrastructures

Taught by

Margot Weijnen and Ernst ten Heuvelhof

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