January 20, 2014, NEW YORK — At the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 13th street a 36 inch broken cast iron water pipe laid in 1877 is being repaired—an unusual window into the global infrastructure gap. According to Professor Shagun Mehrotra, “40 trillion dollars will be invested, over the next two decades, in bridging the global deficit in environmental infrastructure—transport, energy, and water. Advanced industrial economies confront aging infrastructure. In developing countries, where infrastructure is scarce, three billion people will be added to cities by 2050—mainly in slums of Africa and Asia—further exacerbating urban environmental degradation.”
At the New School, he invites you to offer solutions. In his course on infrastructure economics we examine old and new economic theories of environmental infrastructure policy and planning: (1) role of the state; (2) privatization (its rationale, methods, and outcomes) and; (3) alternate theories for institutional reform with a focus on strict and weak equity and efficiency trade-offs. Drawing on global case studies of public utilities in the infrastructure sectors, we explore solutions to 21st century environmental challenges of rapid urbanization in some places, and economic growth during fiscal austerity in others.