Assessing the underworld for next generation infrastructure

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Assessing the underworld for next generation infrastructure

Sep 14 2017

Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) must integrate seamlessly with the existing infrastructure and its systems of operation. It must address the compelling needs of cities and urban systems – it must be sustainable, resilient, adaptable, smart and responsive to change (of context, addition, of use) – yet it must address the often overlooked issue of operational serviceability and maintenance. This is where this paper focuses: the nexus between new and existing infrastructure systems when attempting to deliver NGI fit for cities, and the urban systems they support, for the far future.

One core challenge is to understand the condition of the existing asset base, given that much of it is buried and thus out of sight and difficult to access. Following the philosophy of Mapping The Underworld, a new programme (Assessing The Underworld) is researching how remote sensing technologies can be deployed to reveal more than simply where the buried infrastructure is located, but what intelligence can we extract to understand its condition? Inherent in this endeavour is the appreciation that the transport and buried utility infrastructure systems are usually physically co-located and are interdependent: interfere physically in one of these systems and the other will be affected. Moreover, both are supported by the ground, and this can be conceptualised as a third, intervening, infrastructure, and all three are interdependent.

This paper describes the advances made in understanding the condition of the three infrastructures as a result of novel developments in sensing technologies as the platform for bringing a new evidence base on which to found decision-making for NGI.

Christopher Rogers, Nicole Metje, Lewis Makana, Phil Atkins, Farzad Hayati, Jen Muggleton, Emiliano Rustighi, Ayad Al-Khoury, Stephen Pennock, Hugo Jenks, Joby Boxall, Rich Collins, J Zhu, Robin Mills, Rob Dwyer-Joyce, Sean Anderson and Tony Dodd (2017). Assessing the underworld – understanding the context for engineering the next generation infrastructure. Proceedings of the International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure (ISNGI). 341-350. Read publication.

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