The global urban population has shifted dramatically during the 20th century, growing from 220 million to 2.8 billion and forecast to grow to five billion by 2030, posing increasing challenges to the infrastructure sector.
Emerging megatrends such as digital disruption, climate change, resource issues and rapid urbanisation mean the engineering infrastructure sector must consider a much broader set of impacts and solutions. These megatrends also give rise to unprecedented opportunities for the private sector and governments to excel in innovation and sustainable living. PwC has estimated that global spend on infrastructure will reach $78 trillion over the next 10 years.
The engineering sector needs to look closely at these five key economic megatrends in order to leverage the opportunities ahead:
Increased Public Debt – Due to increased financial pressure at the government level, investments will need to be risk averse. Investors and governments will avoid locking in to risky investments. Infrastructure renewal projects may need to look at diversified investment strategies.
The Silk Road Rises – Asia will be the dominant middle class by 2030 and demands on infrastructure, from transport to healthcare, will be high. Driven by China, the Asia-Pacific region will be responsible for 60% of global infrastructure spending by 2025.
Megacities – Rapid urbanisation is creating an increased concentration of infrastructure services such as transport, energy, water and waste disposal – with an accent on green. Australia has emerged as one of the most urbanised countries globally.
Resource Scarcity – Increased demand for water and energy has created a need for innovation in financing, design and delivery of infrastructure. Climate change will also require more resilient infrastructure that can cope with extreme weather events.
Digital Disruption – A range of new technologies will help streamline infrastructure development and management. These include improvements in energy storage technology for renewable energy; measurement solutions for resource demand management and investment via data analytics and artificial intelligence; wireless energy transfer, and solar fuel innovation.
For those in the driver’s seat of infrastructure development, now is the time to invest in future proofing skills and accessing intelligence across these new terrains in a rapidly morphing landscape. Innovative thinking at both the private and public level will be mandatory in this new paradigm and a Master of Engineering Management online course will help fast-track that shift.
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