Critical infrastructures and sharing: implications for UK centralised infrastructure systems

Paper to be delivered to International Symposia for Next Generation Infrastructure (ISNGI) 2015

The above-named paper is to be delivered by Prof Chris Rogers at the 2015 meeting of the ISNGI in September 2015. The full paper will be made available via conference proceedings following the conference. You can find out more about the conference by clicking here.

Abstract: The UK economy has moved away from traditional large-scale and standardised manufacturing processes (Fordism) towards a more service-based economy and smaller-scale and more specialised manufacturing (post Fordism). A more variegated, smaller-scale and specialised economy seems to fit better with more flexible provision of critical infrastructures. Sharing offers a unique opportunity to modernise UK critical infrastructures, increasing resilience to shocks as well as responsiveness to changes in consumption and production whilst improving sustainability and citizen wellbeing. However, the historic development path taken by UK critical infrastructures has resulted in siloed management structures, substantial sunk-costs, and equipment lock-in, which militates against the emergence of sharing opportunities in these sectors. This paper explores sharing (and in particular issues of ownership and control) as it relates to the critical infrastructures of the UK. It reviews the pathways to the current form and function of UK critical infrastructures in an effort to prevent a resurgence of past problems in tandem with thinking about how these systems might be made more resilient and sustainable through sharing. It concludes that with careful and considered application, sharing offers the potential for new ideas, innovation, greater flexibility and adaptability, a move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and a greater responsiveness that appears lacking in the traditional UK approach to critical infrastructures.

Authors: Joanne M Leach, Ian Bartle, James D Hale, Chris J Bouch, Christopher T Boyko, Susan E Lee, Valeria de Laurentiis, Marianna Cavada, Martin Locret-Collet, Dexter VL Hunt, Jon P Sadler, Chris DF Rogers