With the fast growth of urban population local governments, public service agencies, and urban utilities presently face increasing public demand for greater reliability, safety, affordability and resiliency of the aging urban infrastructure systems. These systems have to be continuously adapted and upgraded (often with technology-driven solutions) to efficiently support the essential public services, urban development and economic growth.
The infrastructure systems support a variety of urban sectors, including transportation, energy & water supply, sanitation & wastewater management, public buildings, district heating, public health & safety, waste management, telecommunication and other essential services. Their sustainable development engages a wide variety of public and private sector stakeholders and greatly depends on a broad range of institutional, environmental, economic, societal and operational factors. Such factors include public policy objectives, land use and geo-physical system characteristics, regulatory requirements, environmental issues, availability of renewable resources, customers’ awareness and culture, management capabilities, and other operational state variables. With rising societal concerns with regard to climate change impact, environmental sustainability and economic viability of the fast-growing urban centers, both Government and Industry presently face increasing needs for innovative capabilities of dynamic monitoring and “smart” system control to effectively meet the challenge of upgrading the aging urban infrastructure systems.
Facing these urban sustainability challenges, recent developments of Information Technology based “smart” infrastructure monitoring and control capabilities have been increasingly integrated in operation system optimization, early incident detection and proactive mitigation, for upgrading the operational efficiency, safety and service quality of the infrastructure systems. These innovative solutions are currently driving a significant paradigm shift from reactive to preemptive engineering and management of these urban systems, across the wide array of public service sectors that they support. The infrastructure industry development goal is to provide the engineers and managers of the urban systems with upgraded decision making capabilities to better cope with the growing environmental risks, economic constraints, and complex operational uncertainties and effectively respond to the growing societal demand.
The interdisciplinary MS Program in Urban Infrastructure Systems targets the development of a broad understanding of the infrastructure management challenges facing metropolitan governments and urban utilities. Cutting across different disciplines of engineering, infrastructure financing, environmental policy and planning, the program is focused on the needs and methodologies for integrating policy decision making, intelligent technology solutions, and risk-based system analysis in urban infrastructure systems management to effectively meet the emerging challenges of sustainable urban developments. Following five core courses, students may select an area of specialization in a specific urban sector, as indicated in the list of proposed majors. They are also required to complete a 3-credit Capstone project or a 6-credit Master Thesis.
With specialized faculty members from Government, Industry and Academia, the program is designed for professionals, with both engineering and non-engineering backgrounds, who are involved and/or interested in the fast growing interdisciplinary field of urban systems management and career opportunities with government agencies, public and private sector utilities, and service industries across the wide array of the metropolitan sectors.
To accomplish these objectives the program includes:
- Core courses (5 courses, 3 credits each) related to challenges of infrastructure management strategies across the sectors.
- Majors (3 to 4 courses, 3 credits each) related to infrastructure management strategies for selected urban sectors, including: Urban Transportation Planning & Management, Urban Water Supply & Environmental Systems management, Smart Building & Energy Supply, Urban Construction Engineering & Management and Infrastructure Systems Planning & Management.
- Interdisciplinary Capstone Project (3 credits) or MS Research Thesis (6 credits) on a selected topic.