Concepts and practices for transforming infrastructure from rigid to adaptable

Erica J. Gilrein, Thomaz M. Carvalhaes, Samuel A. Markolf, Mikhail V. Chester, Braden R. Allenby, Margaret Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Infrastructure are increasingly being recognized as too rigid to quickly adapt to a changing climate and a non-stationary future. This rigidness poses risks to infrastructure service delivery and public welfare. Adaptivity in infrastructure is critical for managing uncertainties to continue providing services, yet little is known about how infrastructure can be made more agile and flexible for improved adaptive capacity. A literature review identified approximately fifty examples of novel infrastructure and technologies which support adaptivity through one or more of ten theoretical characteristics of adaptive infrastructure. From these examples, several infrastructure forms and possible strategies for adaptivity emerged, including smart technologies, combined centralized/decentralized organizational structures, and renewable electricity generation. With institutional and cultural support, such novel structures and systems have the potential to transform infrastructure provision and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSustainable and Resilient Infrastructure
StateAccepted/In press - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Infrastructure
  • adaptation
  • agile
  • flexible
  • resilience
  • smart systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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