Most development challenges are interconnected, yet the solutions are often unidimensional. Now is the time to invest in multi-sector infrastructure that can respond to climate change and future needs!
Why multi-sector infrastructure?
Infrastructure is a fundamental component of public investment that is essential for ensuring healthy, productive, and attractive cities for residents and businesses. However, much of the infrastructure built in recent decades has been carbon-intensive and is responsible for 79 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, as well as 88 percent of all adaptation costs. This has led to serious environmental and economic consequences, including the exacerbation of climate change impacts.
Furthermore, traditional infrastructure has often been unidimensional and unable to keep up with changing technological, social, and economic trends. As a result, it becomes obsolete, and unable to meet the needs of diverse stakeholders. Another challenge is that different infrastructure sectors such as transportation, energy, water, social housing, waste management, and telecommunications often operate in silos with minimal collaboration. This lack of collaboration can lead to inefficiencies, duplicated efforts, and inadequate responses to challenges. One of the main reasons for this siloed approach is the distinct regulatory frameworks and funding structures that govern each sector.
Future-proof infrastructure (FPI) is an innovative approach that aims to make infrastructure more responsive to changes in climate, and evolving economic and political situations, and adaptable to future needs. By anticipating and addressing potential challenges, FPI seeks to create a sustainable and resilient infrastructure that will provide long-term benefits. It recognizes that many development challenges facing our cities are complex and interconnected, and therefore require a holistic approach that involves collaboration across. Multi-sector infrastructure development focuses on creating a comprehensive and integrated infrastructure system that supports economic growth, social development, and sustainability.
Advantages of investing in multi-sector infrastructure
- Optimising resources: Shared facilities, knowledge and expertise, technical skills, and public finances help in achieving greater efficiency while optimising scarce resources.
- Increased resilience: Multi-sector infrastructure development diversifies the economy, reducing dependence on any particular sector, which increases resilience to shocks and disasters.
- Environmental sustainability: Sectors with environmental benefits like use of renewable energy, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be promoted.
- Social equity: Working collaboratively across sectors allows decision makers to identify and address social issues such as poverty, sanitation and hygiene, healthcare, housing, and education.
- Limit political opportunism: Involvement of multiple sectors reduces the possibility of political capture.
Through the lens of this FPI featured project example given below, we can see the transformative potential of multi-sector infrastructure initiatives to generate substantial social and environmental impacts.
Topinao Socialized Housing and Permaculture Community: a Multidimensional Project Building Resilience and Livelihood
Baguio City's upcoming Socialized Housing and Permaculture Project is an excellent example of multi-sector infrastructure providing residence and creating livelihoods for the local community. The project aims to house 2,000 beneficiary families in a 5-hectare property, addressing the government's housing agenda of relocating families from danger areas, calamity-affected areas, and sites earmarked for government infrastructure projects. Apart from providing housing, the project also includes a permaculture component that promotes urban agriculture, agri-enterprise, and livelihood development, enabling a transition to a circular economy. The project has three components: Land purchase, Site Development, and Housing, with three separate sponsors financing it. Private sector finance will contribute 75 % of the capital cost, demonstrating the increasing involvement of the private sector in social and environmental initiatives.
To learn more about how infrastructure projects across multiple sectors can be integrated to improve resilience to climate change, and financial and political uncertainties, join the Future-Proof Infrastructure virtual event online on the 28th March.