Civil infrastructure systems involves the design, analysis, and management of infrastructure supporting human activities, including, for example, electric power, oil and gas, water and wastewater, communications, transportation, and the collections of buildings that make up urban and rural communities. These networks deliver essential services, provide shelter, and support social interactions and economic development.
The field of civil infrastructure systems builds on and extends traditional civil engineering areas. Rather than focus on individual structural components or structures, civil infrastructure systems emphasizes how different structures behave together as a system that serves a community's needs. Problems in this field typically involve a great deal of uncertainty, multiple and competing objectives, and sometimes numerous and conflicting constituencies. The technical aspects of infrastructure engineering must be understood in the social, economic, political, and cultural context in which they exist, and must be considered over a long-time horizon that includes not just design and construction, but maintenance, operations, performance in natural disasters and other extreme events, and destruction as well.
Infrastructure is not just about physical assets, such as roads and bridges. It is also about providing people with the power, clean water, communications, logistics, and mobility that they need. The sustainably designed infrastructure will become critical to expanding society's access to public goods and innovations that advance individual and community capacity, well-being, national economic growth, and overall prosperity.