Elise Miller-Hooks

Imagine the Future: Exercises on Conceptualizing Infrastructure Systems for an Interconnected World

Dates: October-December 2018

Project Abstract

In October of 2017, Professor Miller-Hooks held a symposium she designed and called, Imagine the Future: Conceptualizing Infrastructure Systems for an Interconnected World (civil.gmu.edu/imagine). This symposium hypothesized that infrastructure systems, including roadways, clean and wastewater pipelines, power networks, natural gas networks and more, are no longer detached systems that can be designed and operated in isolation. They are interdependent and together form the fabric of society. Along with other elements of our built environment, they provide basic sustenance, protection, support for societal functioning, goods and services.

Ensuring a vibrant societal future requires that these systems be resilient, sustainable, and secure and can offer services that improve our well-being. Technological advancements have created a socio-technological web of infrastructure interwoven with the people who use and interact with it and live within. These advancements have empowered people through the provision of information. They enable collaboration. Thus, these systems, if conceived smartly, can offer more than merely serving our basic needs. They can be reinvented to support and encourage new mechanisms of operation, ownership, service types and their provision, and have the flexibility to allow for the creation of services we might not have anticipated.

Symposium attendees were, thus, tasked with imagining a new future and reinventing how we conceptualize, design, operate and control these systems to take advantage of our newly connected world. In this educational project, Professor Miller-Hooks and her students executed an Imagine the Future exercise with more than 100 students and young professionals at the ASCE Region 2 Assembly held on the George Mason University Fairfax campus on November 17, 2018. The objective of this exercise was to educate the next generation and to have them critically consider the future of our nation’s infrastructure systems.

Award Period:
Source of Funding:
USDOT: Mid-Atlantic Center for Integrated Asset Management for Multi-Modal Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CIAMTIS)
PI (on Subaward from PSU, PI project)


Total Award Amount:

Project 56


Elise Miller-Hooks, Ph.D.
Bill & Eleanor Hazel Chair in Infrastructure Engineering

Phone: 703.993.1685
Email: miller@gmu.edu

Office: 4614 Nguyen Engineering Building

Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MS 6C1
Fairfax, VA 22030


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