Future of Construction and Infrastructure

The world is confronted with many challenges that have the potential to severely impact well-being and happiness of our societies. Climate change, resource scarcity and fast urbanization are among the most severe of these challenges. The Infrastructure and Urban Development (IU) industry is an important player when it comes to solving these challenges and shaping a desirable future for our planet. 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which are a core driver of climate change, are attributable to facilities constructed by the industry. At the same time the IU industry is the largest consumer of raw materials further depleting scarce resources. Around 200,000 people migrating to urban areas daily are dependent on the provision of affordable housing and infrastructure provided by the IU industry.

The construction industry plays a key role for governments in both developed and developing economies. The sector creates new jobs, drives economic growth, and provides solutions to address social, climate and energy challenges. The construction industry has important linkages with other sectors, so that its impact on GDP and economic development goes well beyond the direct contribution of construction activities. 

To address these challenges, the World Economic Forum established the Future of Construction initiative in 2015. Since then, the initiative has successfully served as a platform for Forum partner firms, governments, academia, and civil society to shape the industry agenda and to find innovative solutions to support the industry’s transformation and thereby achieve higher productivity, greater sustainability and enhanced affordability.

Below are the phases of the initiative:

−In 2015-2016 (Phase 1), the initiative assessed the current state of Engineering & Construction (E&C) industry challenges and opportunities. It also developed an industry transformation framework outlining key change vectors on company, sector & government level, illustrated by leading examples

−In 2016-2017 (Phase 2), the initiative detailed case studies of innovative large-scale projects and from pilot projects & start-ups. It also developed lessons learned on key success factors for the industry including policy recommendations

−In 2017-2018 (Phase 3), the initiative developed comprehensive scenarios of the E&C industry future based on mega-trends, including impact on jobs, sustainability, technology (Building Information Modeling etc.) highlighting strategic implications for all stakeholders along the value chain

−Upcoming in 2018-2021 (Phase 4), in collaboration between the Forum, Oxford University and other partners, the initiative will form a central platform to exchange best practices and ideas guiding the IU industry in its necessary transformation by scaling the engineering and construction ecosystem beyond the existing major players and include key disruptors, creating and implementing policy reform and system transformation

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