New paper calls for Re-envisioning infrastructure as a platform for human flourishing

Flourishing Systems:
Re-envisioning infrastructure as a platform for human flourishing 
12 May 2020


Leaders from academia, industry and government call for infrastructure to be re-envisioned

Today academia, government and industry come together to publish a new white paper, Flourishing Systems, calling for a fundamental change in how we view and run our nation’s infrastructure in the face of climate change and the socio-economic recovery from Covid-19.

The central ideas in the paper are simple and radical: that the purpose of infrastructure is human flourishing, therefore infrastructure should be viewed and managed as a system of systems that serves people and the environment.

The paper is jointly published by the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) at the University of Cambridge, with the support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechancial Engineers. Its development was supported by over 30 key experts and influencers from industry, government and academia.

Mark Enzer, Head of the National Digital Twin Programme at CDBB, and Chief Technical Officer, Mott MacDonald said:

“This paper started with the question, ‘what does it mean to live well?’. As we face immediate and systemic challenges that require immediate and collaborative action – the question has never been more topical.  

“Built on an emerging consensus, Flourishing Systems advocates a fundamental shift in how we view and manage our infrastructure. It puts the wellbeing of people and the planet first, then asks how we can use systems thinking and innovation to deliver the social, economic and environmental outcomes needed to live well. 

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to this paper, and hope that the recommendations resonate well.” 

Dr Jennifer Schooling OBE, Director of CSIC said:

“Considering our infrastructure as a system of systems which facilitates human flourishing enables us to plan and manage infrastructure differently, setting objectives in terms of outcomes for people, society and the environment.  

“Collaboration is key. If industry, government and academia work together, we can create a framework for recovery to embed low carbon, low waste outcomes into projects, with the potential for real transformation in industry practice. The stakes are high; if we fail we risk creating an even greater burden for future generations to deal with.” 

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