Call for Papers — IEEE TTS Special issue on “Imagining Tomorrow’s Infrastructure”

By on December 27th, 2023 in Call for Papers, Transactions

The IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society has launched a call for papers for an upcoming special issue.


Current infrastructure has served billions of people around the world and has achieved efficiencies and economies of scale [1] [2]. Most of it was built using assumptions of perpetual growth and demographic and socio-economic stability but once in place it has also generated vulnerabilities [3] [4] [5] and a need to protect against the exploitation of those vulnerabilities [6] [7] [8] [9]. The relevance of some foundational assumptions is decreasing, and further changes may be expected [10] [11].  The precise scope of what counts as ‘infrastructure’ varies by jurisdiction and ideology, yielding almost arbitrary distinctions between it and other equally essential services (banking and finance, health services, communications, logistics and food distribution, etc.) that are left to be provided by the marketplace.  There is similar variation in whether public or private actors provide infrastructure services [10] [12].  Paradoxical, we have seen a deterioration of mental health in an era when the infrastructure required for the provision of basic physical needs has seldom been better, and similarly we have seen a pandemic of loneliness in an era when the infrastructural means of communications have never been better [13] [14]. Finally, although the phrase “revolutionary technology” has been overused, technological changes have generated new design opportunities [15] that may yield more robust performance of infrastructural systems.

Noting that many of the original drivers for infrastructure development have changed and worrisome vulnerabilities and interdependencies have emerged, it is timely to assess the future of infrastructure systems [8] [9] [16] [17]. Assessments should consider the diversity of economic conditions, network effects, and broader environmental [18] and cultural changes [19] [20]. Some adaptations to the scope of “infrastructure”, may be needed. Sewage treatment, roads/rails and bridges, power transmission [10], potable water provision [21] and administrative accommodation have been traditionally considered as essential infrastructure, but financial services, healthcare and communications may claim to be equally foundational. Basic needs must not be forgotten but long-term changes to the definition of “basic needs” served by infrastructure warrant consideration [22] [23]. Less centralised and more mobile human populations (whether voluntary migrants or refugees) create specific infrastructure-planning challenges [24] [25] that deserve assessment of issues including unequal access, variations in the timing of demand, and a desire for greater interoperability.

Family members and local social networks once informally satisfied many human needs such as friendship, child-support, medical treatment, and care of the elderly. Now many people look for these services [26] in the marketplace or from infrastructure providers [27]. Changing patterns of mobility (and provision for those living with disability) and opportunities for remote working have disrupted historical approaches in surprising ways. In a society whose demographics and means of economic production are changing fundamentally there are challenges in building infrastructure that offers improved ability to meet real human needs [28]. Efforts to augment physical infrastructures with sensors and autonomous intelligence are underway [29] [30], leaving open questions about their economic, social and ethical implications.

Let’s apply our research to identifying/evaluating the social changes that would be required to support radically changed infrastructure. Let’s imagine which infrastructure investments will retain value if disruptive technologies such as telemedicine, local energy storage, or local food and medicine synthesis mature? Let’s consider whether it is feasible to predict the advent of disruptive infrastructural technologies – and finally let us consider how infrastructure systems can make graceful transitions to future scopes and future configurations.


Important dates

  • Submissions open: Now
  • Submissions close: 29 Mar 2024
  • Author latest notifications of acceptance: Jun 2024
  • Subsequent review rounds: Jun-Sep 2024
  • Final receipt of final files 01 Oct 2024
  • Publication of special issue (tentative): 01 Dec 2024

Please note, TTS subscribes to a pre-print model of access. Once your paper is accepted it will appear online freely available with DOI until it is placed in the relevant issue.



Acceptable types of paper may include:

  • Interdisciplinary considerations connecting technical perspectives on future critical infrastructure to socio-cultural and political-economic theories
  • Papers approaching critical infrastructure as a social construct shaped by socio-historical contexts, competing discourses and visions of the future
  • Examinations of theoretical concepts and broader sociocultural ideas for approaching the future critical infrastructures problem
  • Investigations that describe and explain change in infrastructure systems. Reviews of literature on one or more of the proposed themes

Special issue submissions may be focused upon, but not need not be limited to, the following topics:

  • Resilient and robust infrastructure
  • New and changing infrastructure scope
  • (Re)distributed infrastructure
  • Connectedness and meeting real human needs
  • Supporting a next-generation infrastructure
  • Disruptive infrastructural technology
  • Sociotechnical and economic transition options
  • ”future proof” infrastructure approaches


Submissions that fall outside the above scope, will be referred to general issues of TTS.


How to Submit

For article formats, templates, and submission information, see

Submit your papers through


Review and publication process

Papers will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Papers accepted for full review will be reviewed by anonymous reviewers with a target turnaround of 8weeks for a first review decision. To be considered for the special issue, revisions of papers that are accepted with changes need to be submitted before the listed dates. Should they require further cycles of revision, they will be included in a future regular issue of the Transactions, pending a decision by the Co-Editors-in-Chief.


Guest Editors

* Corresponding guest editors



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[2] Wenban-Smith H (2006) Urban infrastructure: Density matters, not just size. Research Papers in Environmental & Spatial Analysis. No. 104

[3] Attenberger A (2023) Modeling Approaches for Cyber Attacks on Energy Infrastructure. Conference paper.  EUROCAST 2022: Computer Aided Systems Theory – EUROCAST 2022 pp 199–206. Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 13789).

[4] Ibarra J; Butt U J; Do A; Jahankhani H & Jamal A (2019) Ransomware Impact to SCADA Systems and its Scope to Critical Infrastructure.  Published in: 2019 IEEE 12th International Conference on Global Security, Safety and Sustainability (ICGS3). DOI: 10.1109/ICGS3.2019.8688299. Publisher: IEE. Conference Location: London, UK

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[9] Hynes W, Trump B, Love P & Linkov I (2020) Bouncing forward: a resilience approach to dealing with COVID-19 and future systemic shocks. Environment Systems and Decisions volume 40, pages174–184 (2020). <>

[10] Kocakusak D, Senick J & Andrews C J. “Implementing the energy transition: lessons from New Jersey’s residential solar industry.” Climate Policy, 2023, doi 10.1080/14693062.2023.2202208.

[11] Slay AM, J. (2023). Pandemics and Illegal Manipulation of Digital Technologies: Examining Cause and Effect in a Time of COVID-19. In: Smith, R.G., Sarre, R., Chang, L.YC., Lau, L.YC. (eds) Cybercrime in the Pandemic Digital Age and Beyond. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

[12] Rozenberg J & Fay M (2019) Beyond the Gap: How Countries Can Afford the Infrastructure They Need while Protecting the Planet. World Bank Publications, 12/02/2019 – Business & Economics.

[13] O’Sullivan R, Lawlor B, Burns A & Leavey G (2021) Will the pandemic reframe loneliness and social isolation? The Lancet Healthy Longevity. Volume 2, ISSUE 2, e54-e55, February 2021.

[14] Swader, C.S & Moraru, AV. Social Infrastructure and the Alleviation of Loneliness in Europe. Köln Z Soziol (2023).

[15] Lebreton L & Andrady A (2019) Future scenarios of global plastic waste generation and disposal. nature humanities and social sciences communications. Palgrave Communications volume 5, Article number: 6 (2019).

[16] Tyler N (2021) Next-generation infrastructure for next-generation people – Smart Infrastructure and Construction. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. E-ISSN 2397-8759. Volume 173 Issue 2, June 2020, pp. 24-28.

[17] Wu J, Zhang Y & Shi Z (2021). Crafting a Sustainable Next Generation Infrastructure: Evaluation of China’s New Infrastructure Construction Policies. Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6245;

[18] Andrews C J. “Toward a research agenda on climate-related migration.” Journal of Industrial Ecology 24: 331– 341, 2020. doi 10.1111/jiec.13005.

[19] Andreucci M B, Russo A & Olszewska-Guizzo A (2019). Designing Urban Green Blue Infrastructure for Mental Health and Elderly Wellbeing. Sustainability. Volume 11  Issue 22

[20] Jáuregui A, Lambert E V, Panter J, Moore C & Salvo D (2021) Scaling up urban infrastructure for physical activity in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The Lancet Journal. COMMENT| VOLUME 398, ISSUE 10298, P370-372, JULY 31, 2021. DOI:

[21] Enoch M; Balci P (2020) A Tale of Three Cities: Green Infrastructure Incentives in Urban Areas. NYC’s Next Generation Tools for Private Property Green Infrastructure. Session number 420.  Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation. Conference Paper. Publisher Water Environment Federation.

[22] Guelpa E, Bischi A, Verda V, Chertkov M & Lund H (2019) Towards future infrastructures for sustainable multi-energy systems: A review. Energy. Volume 184, 1 October 2019, Pages 2-21.

[23] Muller S (2013) The Next Generation Of Infrastructure. Pub. in SCENARIO 03: Rethinking Infrastructure.  <>

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[25] do Prado J C, Qiao W, Qu L & Agüero J R (2019) The Next-Generation Retail Electricity Market in the Context of Distributed Energy Resources: Vision and Integrating Framework. Energies. Volume 12 Issue 3. P491.

[26] Castells M (2022). “The Network Society Revisited.” American Behavioral Scientist 67(7); <>.

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[30] Zhang C, Fan C, Yao W, Hu X & Mostafavi A (2019) Social media for intelligent public information and warning in disasters: An interdisciplinary review. International Journal of Information Management. Volume 49, December 2019, Pages 190-207.