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Infrastructure Choices in Post-Conflict Situations - Opportunities for Sustainability and Resilience?

Funding agency: FORMAS. Duration: 2018-2022

Infrastructure is immensely important in transitions to sustainability and as a foundation for resilience since it enables and prevents whole sets of other activities and pathways to future development. Inertia in infrastructure creates stability and predictability, at the same time this inertia also produces a lock-in effect for extended periods of time.

Post-conflict situations open opportunities to shift paradigms, and to create new conditions for entire societies and regions. But the conflict will also affect decision-making processes, sometimes leading to situations of political dead-lock. The international community spends billions of dollars every year on the rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure; much of it re-produces old patterns. Such actors are faced with a delicate balancing act between the contextual challenges of post-conflict situations and the opportunities to shift paradigms through innovative and sustainable infrastructure choices.

The research design interrogates past and current case studies to develop empirically informed relationships and uses scenario narratives combined with design workshops as ‘low stake’ heuristics enabling actors to explore at an early stage the trade-offs between business-as-usual infrastructure choices and long-term sustainability in post conflict situations in the Middle East.


Given the challenges, this project aims to contribute to new knowledge and heuristic techniques for making better infrastructure choices for transitions to sustainability.

Research Team

Helen Avery, Researcher at CMES and the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC, Lund University)

helen [dot] avery [at] cme [dot] lu [dot] se

Painting by Fouad Agbaria