Infrastructure is essential to the everyday workings of the American economy. Our roads, rails, pipes, and cables connect people to opportunity, allow companies to grow, and influence our environmental health. Too often, however, debate on infrastructure focuses exclusively on the physical quality of our networks and the price tags associated with new projects. In this confounding process, too little attention is given to whether our infrastructure systems can address vital, widespread challenges such as economic inequality, reducing environmental risk, or managing rapid technological change.
As many infrastructure systems are reaching the end of their useful life and governments at all levels are considering massive new investments, there is now prime opportunity to reconsider the shared outcomes we aim to advance through built environment policies. As part of Infrastructure Week 2018, The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings convened a group of public, private, and civic thought leaders to discuss how our shared economic, social, and environmental challenges look from an infrastructure perspective—and present the most promising innovations to help address them.
Following the panel discussions, speakers took questions from the audience.