Infrastructure refers to the various basic systems such as transport, water, energy, and electricity that an organization or country needs to work effectively. Also, telecommunications, waste management, and water facilities can be classified under infrastructure. In other words, infrastructure involves investing money and resources on systems that contribute to resource efficiency. These are those systems that are necessary for any organization or country to work effectively. Infrastructure includes natural types of infrastructure such as landscapes, wetlands, forests and watershed protection. It also includes traditional forms of infrastructure such as buildings, sanitation, energy, water supply, and transport. On the other hand, Sustainable Infrastructure refers to those infrastructure projects that are operated, designed, and constructed in ways that ensure the social, institutional, environmental, and economic/financial sustainability of members of the society or the organization. The primary aim of maintaining a good infrastructure in a country or organization is to ensure that there is a smooth flow of operations. Without proper infrastructures such as roads and buildings, there is no way that a nation or company can function adequately. This paper discusses Sustainable Infrastructure in ways that can help people to understand some of the things they did not know about the topic.
Sustainable Infrastructure is a topic that many authors have tried to discuss in their books. It may look like a small topic, but many issues need to be addressed for it to be fully understood. Roads, buildings, water, and energy are all important in people’s lives. If they are not sustained, then it means that people will have difficulties in their lives. Moving from one place to another will be a problem if roads are not developed. Housing will also be a problem is there are not enough buildings that can sustain a particular population. Water and energy are also necessary for daily lives because of the role they play in society. This is a topic that will assist people to learn the importance of various infrastructure systems in the community so that they can maintain them in high standards. Maintaining a sustained infrastructure is not easy, and because of this, people need to learn how to do it.
Various authors discuss this topic differently. There are those who provide background information regarding Sustained Infrastructure that can be used for various learners to understand the topic. There are also other authors who discuss the importance of Sustained Infrastructure. Either way, it turns out that this is an interesting topic because it covers a lot of aspects of people’s daily lives. Among the authors that have discussed this topic, there are a few who provide limited information in a way that what they are trying to explain does not come out clearly. There are others who tackle this topic professionally, and their books and articles can be helpful for anyone who intends to understand this topic. This paper focuses on helping people to understand this topic entirely, and that is why the focus will be on those books and articles that provide enough information that can be used to understand Sustainable Infrastructure.
The Four Dimensions of Infrastructure Sustainability
The four dimensions of infrastructure sustainability include:
1. Economic and Financial Sustainability
2. Social Sustainability
3. Environmental Sustainability
4. Institutional Sustainability
Economic and Financial Sustainability
Infrastructure is economically sustainable if it leads to successful economic activities. There are various economic activities that people undertake, and they require proper infrastructure for them to be successful. For example, it can be said that infrastructure is sustained if there are developed roads that people can use to transport their products to the market. Yigitcanlar & Dur (2010), countries that develop economically and financially have a sustained infrastructure that enables citizens to carry out their economic activities smoothly. Therefore, sustainable infrastructure projects need to generate enough income that can be used for the development of a country. However, to do this, they must be supported where necessary to ensure that they are in good condition. For instance, roads need to be in good shape for them to be passable. This is the only way they can be of importance to members of any organization and the entire country.
Also, sustainable infrastructure needs to be designed in a way that it supports the inclusive and sustainable growth of an organization or nation. It should also be designed to boost productivity as well as deliver high-quality services that are affordable to everyone. It cannot be said that infrastructure is sustained if it does not support the growth of all companies and the whole country. It is also a sign of an infrastructure that is not sustained when there are difficulties in the way activities are performed in a state.
Economically, people need to perform their various activities such as businesses as well as report to their different places of work. This is the only way they can raise enough money to take care of themselves and their families. Also, the government will benefit because of the various taxes that will be collected from the citizens. So economic and financial sustainability is one of the four dimensions of a sustained infrastructure that involves the development of those facilities that can be used to improve the way people carry out their economic activities.
Sustainable infrastructure serves everyone in a country including those who are considered as poor. Facilities such as roads, energy, water, and buildings serve people in a country regardless of their financial differences. This is why many people say that sustainable infrastructure is inclusive and for this reason, it needs the support of every member of society. Sustainable infrastructure is only considered beneficial if it contributes to making the lives of people in a company or country better. It also should improve the social well-being of all people in society.
There is no way that people can say that infrastructure is sustained if their social lives are not enhanced. People need to communicate, and for them to do it, they need a stable telecommunication infrastructure. Dasgupta & Tam (2005), social sustainability requires all projects to be constructed according to the set health and safety standards as well as good labor. All the benefits that are generated by sustainable infrastructure need to be shared transparently and equally among the people that were involved in the project. Services that are provided by various infrastructure projects should promote multiple issues in the society such as diversity, health, safety, and gender equity.
Sustainable infrastructure should promote social sustainability in a way that people should not have problems in dealing with their social lives. It should ensure that people do not encounter any problems whenever they are interacting with their friends and family members. This is what makes people happy of the way various projects are carried out in the country. Most of the money and resources that are used in maintaining sustainable infrastructure comes from society, and that is why people expect to benefit from such projects. For example, the government spends people’s taxes to build telecommunication facilities that are aimed at enhancing the way people communicate. If it fails, then it is evident that it does not sustain people socially.
Sustained infrastructure needs to preserve the environment including climate resilience. It does not need to cause any damage to the environment that may result in harming people. Dasgupta ; Tam (2005), sustained infrastructure needs to preserve, integrate and restore the natural environment in a way that people do not experience any harm. It should support the sustainable and effective use of natural resources such as water, energy, and materials. These natural resources are essential, and they are required for the people to perform their duties effectively. If they are not supported, then it means that sustained infrastructure is not assisting people the way it should.
Most importantly, sustained infrastructure should limit all types of pollution. Pollution is one of the things that contribute to making people’s life miserable. For example, water pollution leads to the lack of cleaning water that can be used for various domestic and commercial purposes. People need clean water for drinking, and if it is polluted, then this suggests that sustained infrastructure is not helping. Also, soil pollution leads to the contamination of soil in a way that it cannot produce good harvests. Farm products are vital, and they are needed by everyone. Sustained infrastructure projects should ensure that they limit the release of any waste product that may contaminate the soil in any way.
Also, sustained infrastructure should ensure that it prevents anything that can cause air pollution. Things such as gas emissions from various factories should be regulated to ensure that they do not interfere with people’s lives. Sustainable infrastructure projects should be conducted in a way that they ensure resilience to different climate and natural disaster risks. Yigitcanlar ; Dur (2010), it is important to note that sustainable infrastructure takes care of people by protecting the environment from any harm. No sustainable infrastructure project needs to pollute the environment since this will have a negative impact on people’s lives.
This is a dimension of infrastructure sustainability that focuses on the alignment of all projects to national and international commitments. In other words, sustainable infrastructure should ensure that all institutions carry out their activities in an organized way. Various infrastructure projects aim to ensure that there is enough water, energy as well as good roads that can be used to support the way operations are carried out. All institutions in a country need sustained infrastructure for them to perform their various functions effectively. That is why it is necessary for all sustained infrastructure projects to be carried out with the aim of serving all institutions (whether private or public).
For example, various Universities depend on sustainable infrastructure for them to offer services properly. Their needs should be taken into consideration when constructing roads since they are the ones that will be used to transport students and lecturers. Also, energy projects should be carried out in a way that they aim to benefit the various universities that are in need of electricity. Without electricity, operations cannot run smoothly at any University. The same thing should happen when distributing water. Yigitcanlar et al. (2010), universities should be supplied with enough water that can be used to cater for all the available needs. Water is required in universities for various purposes, and if it is not enough, then it can be said that sustainable infrastructure is not benefiting the intended individuals.
Other than universities, many other institutions need sustained infrastructure for them to work effectively. Operations cannot take place smoothly if institutions such as hospitals cannot be supplied with all the materials required. This is why sustained infrastructure projects should be completed in not only to serve the people but also to serve various institutions. So, sustained infrastructure solely aims at ensuring that there are no difficulties in the way activities are carried out in a particular country, state or organization.
Importance of Sustained Infrastructure
Sound economic development
Sustainable infrastructure assists in the sound economic development of a country. Like mentioned earlier, there are many economic activities that people carry out in the society. These activities include various businesses which require sustainable infrastructure to succeed. There are many business people who move their products and services from one place to another. For them to make money, they need to reach various customers as well as suppliers who are located in different parts. It is not easy for one to travel on foot from one place to another, and this is where sustained infrastructure comes in. It helps people to move from one place to another so that they can undertake their various business activities.
Sustainable infrastructure also ensures that there is enough energy and water that can be used for various development projects. As this happens, it has a positive impact on the economy. When people carry out various businesses, they generate an income which they use to sustain themselves. Other than maintaining themselves, the whole country benefits because there is enough money which is raised in the form of taxes that can be used for various development projects. Lepech, Wang, Weimann, & Keoleian (2004), the economic development of a country that has a sustained infrastructure is easy because of the availability of finances. It cannot be compared to a country that has an infrastructure that is not sustained. Improved water, energy, buildings, and roads are all required for economic development.
Enhanced purchase of local goods and services
The acquisition of local goods and services depends on a country’s infrastructure. It is evident that sustained infrastructure benefits people regarding moving their goods and services to various markets. It also ensures that buyers move freely from one place to another looking for any product or service that they need. Sustainable infrastructure involves the development of various buildings that can be used for business purposes. It makes it easy for people to access what they want without struggling a lot. Some of the local goods and services that could have remained in stores are sold because of sustained infrastructure.
The enhanced purchase of local goods and services is also a result of improved transport facilities. Farm products are easily moved from one place to another where they are sold to different buyers who need them. Without sustained infrastructure, people could not be able to sell their local goods and services. This is because it would be difficult to locate and reach buyers from various areas. Herbert (2012), countries like the United States has a sustained infrastructure which provides an easy way of performing various activities. This is why the United States is among the most prosperous countries in the world. It requires a lot of money and resources for an infrastructure to be sustained, but the benefits are many. A sustained infrastructure is a one-time project that has long-term benefits for society.
Better living standards for citizens
Herbert (2012), sustained infrastructure enhances the quality of life for citizens of a particular country. There are various sustained infrastructure projects that affect society positively, and this is what leads to an improved quality of life for all citizens. For example, there are many countries whose citizens are living in unfavorable conditions because of lack of enough water. Water is one of the most important things in a human being’s life. Without it, people will not be able to carry out various domestic and commercial activities. Such countries encounter this problem because of the lack of sustained infrastructure that can provide enough water for citizens. Sustained infrastructure ensures that there is a steady flow of water for home and industrial use. This improves the way people live because they do not struggle to look for water by walking long distances.
Also, sustained infrastructure ensures that people do not have any transportation difficulties. Without a sustained infrastructure, then it means that people will have to walk on foot from one place to the other. This is because of the lack of good roads that can be used for transportation purposes. Similarly, sustained infrastructure helps people in a way that they do not need to struggle moving from one place to the other for them to access electricity. Without it, people would have difficulties with even charging their mobile phones. This is something that affects people’s standards of living significantly. With sustained infrastructure, people will only sit on their comfort zone and do everything they need to do since there is enough energy supplied for everyone.
It leads to the more effective use of financial resources
People can be able to benefit both economically and financially because of the improved prevention of pollution, reduced carbon emissions, decreased use of materials, and better community relations. Environmental sustainability improves the prospects for the financing of various projects that are undertaken in a country. Dasgupta ; Tam (2005), sustained infrastructure also makes many project stakeholders eager to invest in a particular field. This is because of the existing systems that will help in making businesses successful. Sustainable infrastructure is vital for everyone because it assists people to use their finances effectively. It helps people to determine the right activity to invest money on and this helps them to grow financially.
How to Promote Sustained Infrastructure
It is everyone’s opportunity to promote sustained infrastructure of its benefits to the society. Both national and sectional productive growth strategies should be established to ensure that sustained infrastructure projects are successful. These are those strategies that will ensure that there is enough funding for various projects. No sustainable infrastructure project can succeed without enough funding from the government and other private investors. To promote sustainable infrastructure successfully, everything that is needed for the project completion must be availed. This will ensure that all projects are completed in time so that they can be used to promote ease of operation in an organization or country.
Governments have a role to play in ensuring that sustained infrastructure is promoted. Choguill (1996), other than providing financial support for various sustained infrastructure projects, governments should also implement policies that are aimed at protecting the environment. For example, governments should implement pollution management policies that will prevent people from engaging in activities that will lead to environmental pollution. Those policies will promote the existing sustainable infrastructure projects because they will not be destroyed easily. Governments should be at the front line when it comes to supporting sustained infrastructure.
In conclusion, this paper discusses Sustainable Infrastructure in ways that can help people to understand some of the things they did not know about the topic. Sustained infrastructure ensures that operations in an organization or country run smoothly. It is of importance because it leads to sound economic development, enhanced purchase of local goods and services, better living standards for citizens, and more effective use of financial resources. This shows that sustainable infrastructure is vital in society because of the way it helps people in performing their daily activities. Governments should ensure that they establish strategies that aim at promoting sustainable infrastructure.