Rethinking Infrastructure
Spring 2015

Voices on Infrastructure: Voices from the Global Infrastructure Initiative

Rethinking Infrastructure brings together perspectives on the $57 trillion infrastructure challenge from the public and private sector, industry and academia. These articles address the question: How do we deliver infrastructure for a planet of 9 billion people?

Setting the vision


Unlocking the future: The keys to making cities great

– Effective urban leaders focus on doing three things well.

Infrastructure and the resilience dividend

– Even the best planning can’t always stave off an infrastructure failure when a major disruption hits. But building in resilience can help infrastructure withstand shocks or fail safely.

Building societies: An interview with Madeleine Albright

– Infrastructure is about much more than cement, according to the former US secretary of state and chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group.

Winning public support


E before I: Why engagement needs to come first in planning infrastructure

– Consulting stakeholders before digging makes for better, cheaper projects.

Should the Olympics be shrunk?

– Olympian Wolfgang Maennig argues that it’s time to reconsider ambitions for infrastructure when it comes to mega-events.

Making the consumer case for major infrastructure

– Infrastructure leaders who are looking to win public support for new projects can learn from industries that understand their customers.

Securing investment


Making the most of a wealth of infrastructure finance

– Spending money, not raising it, is the biggest problem when it comes to financing infrastructure.

Removing the roadblocks to smarter investment in American transportation

– US infrastructure is aging, while the population is growing. To improve the transportation system, argues the secretary of transportation, the United States needs more funding and less red tape.

Making a better match: Institutional investors and infrastructure

– Matching up infrastructure projects and institutional investors is difficult. Better knowledge of how infrastructure assets will behave and new ways to monitor performance can help.

Using PPPs to fund critical greenfield infrastructure projects

– For institutional investors and government agencies, greenfield infrastructure projects are ripe with opportunity.

Energy infrastructure: Seizing the opportunity in growth markets

– In some of the most promising markets, supply of and demand for reliable energy has outpaced infrastructure. For discerning investors, the opportunity to fund energy infrastructure is significant.

Improving productivity


The infrastructure conundrum: Improving productivity

– Infrastructure productivity can and should be much better. Here’s how to start improving.

Quick fixes: How one European city got moving (literally)

– Going after quick wins helped city leaders create momentum for continuing improvement.

Inspired infrastructure

– The secret to hitting a moving target is to aim slightly ahead of its trajectory. Stakeholders face a similar challenge when working to develop future-proofed sustainable cities.

How to build a skyscraper in two weeks

– China’s Broad Group is revolutionizing commercial building. Chairman and CEO Zhang Yue explains why traditional construction practices are outdated and how the industry can change.

Harnessing the power of digital


Full speed ahead: How the driverless car could transform cities

– Self-driving cars are not just about a hands-free driving experience. Their emergence points to an urban transformation that will change the way people navigate, access information, and interact with one another.

Big data versus big congestion: Using information to improve transport

– Digitization in infrastructure networks could improve forecasting, promote reliability, and increase efficiency.

Meeting the needs of emerging economies


Infrastructure and economic development: An interview with John Rice

– The need for speed in delivering progress.

Making infrastructure exciting: An interview with Peter Dawson

– The public appreciates the creation of great infrastructure—but the process is difficult.

Infrastructure’s central role in China’s ‘new urbanization’

– To bring the benefits of urban life to hundreds of millions of new residents in city clusters, infrastructure development and financing must be innovative, sustainable, and high quality.

Critical issues in the next decade of China’s infrastructure effort

– More sustainable financing, higher quality in urban projects, and new markets to soak up construction overcapacity will determine how the country writes the next chapter of its remarkable story.

Videos from our Global Infrastructure Initiative

The global affordable housing challenge

Sangeeth Ram presents a blueprint of how the government and the private sector can address the global affordable housing challenge that negatively impacts 330 urban households around the world.

How to make a city great

What makes a great city? Jonathan Woetzel explains that when it comes to cities, greatness is a pursuit, a pursuit of a better versions of themselves.

The driverless city

MIT’s Carlo Ratti discusses how technology can enable cities to understand how people use infrastructures, to better meet the transportation needs of their citizens.

Digitization and infrastructure

Carl-Stefan Neumann presents how big data and digitization can help improve a city’s infrastructure.

Boosting infrastructure productivity to save $1 trillion a year

The world spends $9 trillion on infrastructure every year. Nicklas Garemo and Martin Hjerpe address how increasing infrastructure productivity can help save $1 trillion globally.