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The U.S. has a multi-trillion dollar investment in civil infrastructure systems. While the quality and performance of infrastructure are vital to the nation's economic and social well-being, by most accounts this investment has not been prudently managed for sustainability. New knowledge is needed to provide the intellectual support for infrastructure decisions necessary to sustain economic growth, environmental quality, and improved societal health well into the next century. Such knowledge can only be initiated through research which is interdisciplinary.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has identified Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS) as a strategic research area for promoting an integrated approach to research for the intelligent renewal of civil infrastructure systems. NSF contributes to intelligent infrastructure renewal through the support of research that focuses on the scientific, engineering, and educational advancements needed to sustain civil infrastructure systems. These research areas are represented by separate directorates. In recent years, interdisciplinary research programs have assumed an important role at NSF. These efforts, however, have been confined largely to the areas of natural environment, built environment, and socioeconomic and human environment, and have occurred primarily within individual directorates rather than among them.

NSF has established the Civil Infrastructure Systems Working Group (the CISWG) to develop the intellectual basis for interdisciplinary CIS research programs. These research programs are directed toward new understanding of system performance and guidance in support of resource allocation decisions in civil infrastructure systems investment and management. The CISWG has been co-chaired by the Assistant Directors for the Directorates for Engineering and for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Dr. Priscilla Nelson has served as coordinator for the CISWG since FY95.

In order to assist in defining an integrative research agenda for CIS research, NSF supported the Workshop on Integrated Research in Civil Infrastructure, convened by New York University, and held July 15-17, 1996 in Washington, DC. The Workshop and the accompanying report represent the concerted effort of numerous participants. The Workshop Planning Group directed the organization and design of the Workshop from its inception. Participants representing many disciplines contributed papers and ideas for the Workshop. A core group of the Planning Group members, which included the principal investigators and co-chairs, prepared the Workshop report.

This report provides NSF with a thorough account of the content of the Workshop, including the major issues raised and the key research questions identified. It is intended also for the wider audience of academics and practitioners who are engaged in the work of improving the quality and functioning of infrastructure systems.

Rae Zimmerman, Principal Investigator
Roy Sparrow, Co-Principal Investigator