1st Edition

Sustainable Infrastructure Investment Toward a More Equitable Future

By Eric Christian Bruun Copyright 2022
    174 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    174 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides examples and suggestions for readers to understand how public investment decisions for sustainable infrastructure are made. Through detailed analysis of public investment in infrastructure over the last few decades in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Finland, the author explores how the decision-making processes for major public works spending, many of them requiring quite rigorous and detailed computational methodologies, can result in plans that underserve large portions of the population, are inequitable, and fail to efficiently preserve public property. Beginning with some of the commonly offered explanations for the slow pace of investment and repair in a supposedly prosperous society facing serious environmental challenges, the book then explores media’s role in shaping the public-at-large’s understanding of the situation and the unimaginative solutions put forward by politicians. It continues with some case studies of infrastructure investment, or lack thereof, including an exploration of competing uses for government funds. It concludes with some suggestions. It is aimed at a large readership of professionals, students, and policy makers in political science, urban planning, and civil engineering.

    1. Introduction 2. Common but incomplete explanations for slow investment and repair 3. Reporting quality 4. Politicians are supposed to have a vision 5. Thomas Frank’s analysis or how we got the Dual Economy 6. Dual Economy and the Public Work Sector 7. Dual Economy and Institutions Competing with Public Works 8.Suggestions



    Eric Christian Bruun has been visiting professor at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland, and adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He has taught short courses at several universities around the world. He has managed or participated in numerous national and international consulting projects. He is the author of Better Public Transit Systems: Analyzing Investments and Performance (2nd edition, 2013), and co-author of An Introduction to Sustainable Transportation: Policy, Planning and Implementation (2010), both from Routledge/Earthscan. Eric has Bachelor and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degrees from the University of Washington and a PhD in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

    "This is a very important book. It analyses a wide breadth of problems – concerning transportation, education, health care and others – across the whole policy spectrum. It does so in three different countries (the US, the UK and Finland) with three very different systems of political economy and governance. 'Systems' is a key word here because the systematic inter-relations of cause and effect with regard to policies, is necessary to understand why, what often seem on the surface to be wise practices, so frequently fail. The answer as to why such occurs is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that purported policy solutions to problems when considered in isolation usually produce unintended consequences. Of course, there is a more complex answer as well, and Dr. Bruun provides it . . . in case after case. His cogent arguments and sound logic are matched by a wealth of empirical fact . . . as said before, embracing problems and issues across three very different political-economic systems. This is a very important book!" Garry Potter, Professor of Sociology, Wilfred Laurier University Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

    "It suggests hope for a better future, and in fact I see the book as being well sprinkled with constructive ideas on how we can do better in the future." Glen Weisbrod