Braden Allenby and Mikhail Chester, faculty members in ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, are available as expert voices on the importance of updating America’s infrastructure. 

Allenby and Chester are the authors of The Rightful Place of Science: Infrastructure in the Anthropocene, an examination of the reality and complexity of today’s infrastructure.    

A discussion of their perspectives is available in an episode of ASU’s video series, “Devil in the Details.”

 According to the duo, effective investments require recognition of the rapidly changing landscapes in which basic and critical services must function.  There will be rapid and unpredictable change with complexities that will leave today’s infrastructure unprepared to handle.

The complex, disruptive accelerators of change they’ve identified, along with recommended solutions, include:

  • Autonomous vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, and real-time data analytics
  • Climate change and accelerating integration of human, built and natural systems
  • Social, political and cultural change, including ideological extremism, which limit infrastructure modernization and funding
  • Rapid integration of cyber technologies into legacy systems, like power grids and transportation networks – providing physical security alone is no longer adequate
  • Foundational infrastructure is increasingly provided by private firms rather than public institutions – Tesla as a vehicle manufacturer providing energy storage for the grid and Amazon’s drone delivery service
  • Geopolitical shifts and accelerating use of cyber and AI make infrastructure a battlespace for adversaries – Russia and China have adopted strategies that target infrastructure