FI-12 :: Sustainable infrastructure development and maintenance

Environmental impacts of infrastructure development are less well known than impacts from energy production, building construction or vehicles. However, infrastructure investments and maintenance costs are considerable. The state, regions and municipalities are forced to carefully consider and prioritise budgeting for infrastructure. Climate change causes new pressures and disturbances on the infrastructure, which should be taken into account. In the transport sector, new infrastructure development concentrates on growing urban regions and their connections. Elsewhere, the focus is on the maintenance of present infrastructure. In energy sector, the need for district heating networks is changing due to increased energy efficiency of buildings and the development of new energy sources, such as geoenergy. Groundheat use sets new requirements on planning of subterranean land use and on the assessment of environmental impacts of heatwells. Green infrastructure is being used to substitute technical grey infrastructure e.g. in stormwater management. Nature-based solutions can provide alternatives to traditional technical solutions with less development costs and multiple benefits.
Possible research questions may be:
Land management
• How to increase the resilience of infrastructure to extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions, such as increasing rainfalls?
• How to assess the carbon footprint and material consumption of infrastructure development and maintenance and promote low carbon and resource efficient solutions, e.g. in the transport sector?
• How to take advantage of nature-based solutions in infrastructure development, e.g. in water management
• How to sustainably promote geoenergy and shallow groundheat use? How to find suitable areas for different geoenergy and groundheat use methods?