Coupled Infrastructure
Systems Initiative

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Renting the American Dream

Homeownership has long been seen as an essential feature  of the American Dream, in which equality of opportunity is available to any American. The current housing crisis is long in the making and illustrates how external events expose the fragility of the American Dream.  The 2008 housing bubble caused a …

Work and human development – a clash of institutions?

A popular saying is “it takes a village to raise a child”.   While certainly true, raising a child this way is difficult to scale up.  As a result, in modern times,  we have created a formal educational system that serves an industrial economic model of a standard 9-to-5 work …

Making the provision of highways more participatory

Highways are an iconic example of infrastructure. There are also a lot of complaints about the capacity (causing traffic jams) and quality (e.g. pot holes) of highways and other road types. An article where we analyzed highways as a coupled infrastructure system was just published in the journal Sustainable and …

The Market as a Commons

A key problem in the study of environmental issues is the ‘problem of the commons’. This is a bit of a misnomer. What the ‘problem of the commons’ actually refers to is the assumption that  ‘owned in common’ actually means ‘owned by none’.  When no one owns a resource, it …

Review your fair share

For academic careers it is essential to publish your work in reputable peer-reviewed journals. Publish or perish – the pressure to publish – leads to an increased level of research output (about 2 million articles a year), but it is less clear whether it has increased the quality of knowledge …

Dynastic privilege as a coupled infrastructure system

When we think of infrastructure, we see the ‘hardware’ readily.  Bridges, roads, power lines, airports, buildings and parking lots. The ‘wetware’ is also easy to see – watersheds, animals, oceans, and plants. The ‘software’ is much more difficult to see.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates purportedly once argued about what …

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