About The Course
This is a past/archived course. At this time, you can only explore this course in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of this course may not be active, but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. Make sure to check for reruns of this course.
Imagine how your life would be without electricity to power the devices you use at home and in the office, without reliable drinking water from the tap, without cars, trains and air traffic, without your mobile phone and without internet access. In many parts of the world we take the availability of these services for granted. Without conscious reflection on the technological systems that bring these services to where we use them, we are becoming increasingly dependent on a secure, uninterrupted and affordable supply of energy, water, transport, telecommunication and information services. They create the conditions for liveability and economic development. However, today's infrastructure systems are in a process of drastic change, as they are becoming more and more web-based, transnational and privatized, while new technologies are on their way. The outcome of these changes is difficult to predict.
In this course we will explore the challenges of infrastructure design, management and governance for the future. Some of the questions that will be addressed:
- What are the major changes and drivers when it comes to infrastructure development?
- What makes infrastructure networks vulnerable and how do we manage these risks in the future?
- How can their reliability and quality-of-service be improved?
- Will they become accessible for all global citizens, always and everywhere?
- Will they remain affordable for future generations?
- Will they exhaust the natural environment?
- Will established infrastructure systems be disrupted by technological innovations?
- How about security and privacy?
In this course you will learn to look at these challenges from a new combined engineering and social science perspective. We will explain, for example, how public values are expressed in infrastructure design, and how regulation dictates technology choices. It is all about dealing with complexity in the design, management and governance of infrastructure.
If you are interested or involved in the functioning of today's and tomorrow's (next generation) infrastructures, this course is an exceptional learning opportunity, whether you are a student or a professional. You will be interacting with peers all over the world and we will highlight a large number of case studies.
In the follow-up course, starting in September 2014, you will have the opportunity to study a specific infrastructure in more detail and explore ways to improve its resilience, security, affordability and flexibility. What is the potential of so-called smart grids? How to design infrastructure for the smart cities of the future?
The course is based on the results of an extensive and renowned international research programme titled 'Next Generation Infrastructures' (NGInfra). To celebrate this MOOC, we will invite the two best performing students in this course to the International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure, 29 Sept. – 2 Oct. 2014 in Vienna, Austria – and cover their travel and accommodation costs.