Welcome to the October 2018 issue of Voices on Infrastructure, a collection of insights from McKinsey and industry experts on future-proofing infrastructure in a fast-changing world.
Infrastructure is a critical foundation for much of our economic activity and social life. Demand is rising not only for more infrastructure, but also for infrastructure that is produced effectively and efficiently. But we must put a high priority on making our infrastructure systems as resilient as possible to emerging trends, disruptions, and risks. Tragic accidents, like bridge and dam collapses, and natural disasters serve as stark reminders of a broad array of risks facing our infrastructure.
This issue looks at resilience through four lenses:
- Physical resilience. How can we address the need for maintenance, as our assets slowly crumble? How can we account for climate risks and use our resources more effectively—from natural disasters to long-term water management? How can we defend infrastructure and built assets against cyber and conventional attacks?
- Economic resilience. Technology affects both the use and the cost of infrastructure, and it can make assets obsolete or noncompetitive. Contractual terms can make or break a project financially.
- Protecting cities from stress. Many large cities face continued rapid growth, including sudden inflows of migrants, as well as frequent shocks and emergencies. Smart-city technologies can help alleviate these stressors, and affordable housing strategies can accommodate planned and unplanned growth.
- Cultural resilience. Amid these sweeping, and often abrupt, changes, organizations must prepare to operate with more adaptability, pragmatism, and innovation. Leaders must prioritize culture change to withstand long-term demands and threats.
We hope these insights inspire new thinking about the long-term future of the built world and help you scale best practices in your organizations and geographies.
McKinsey & Company
Director, McKinsey Global Institute