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New Architecture Framework to Manage Infrastructure Systems in the Digital Age

Published January 11, 2022

New York, NY, January 11, 2022 – The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) today announced the publication of an integrated framework to help owners of civil infrastructure systems design and manage complex assets to improve sustainability and resiliency.

The framework provides owners, as well as operators, suppliers, and regulatory agencies, a common language, and suggests processes and tools to integrate new assets into existing systems. The aim is to bring to civil infrastructure leaders the type of enterprise architecture and systems engineering approaches that have proven effective in managing complex e-commerce, aviation, and defense systems.

The publication of the Infrastructure Architecture Framework (IAF) follows two years of collaborative research supported by the United Engineering Foundation (UEF).

“This project demonstrates that an enterprise architectural framework can provide a systemic approach for describing complex sociotechnical infrastructure systems,” said Jennifer L. Costley, Ph.D., the IAF’s program director for NYAS. “Owners of civil infrastructure systems, in energy, transportation, and water services, can use the IAF to improve sustainability, and to modernize infrastructure for smarter, more integrated, and lower-carbon systems that meet current and future community needs.”

The IAF was developed across engineering disciplines with representatives of major engineering associations, including several UEF founding organizations, as well as major utility, transit and other infrastructure system owners and operators.

John Palmer, Principal Enterprise Architect for the New York Power Authority, said the IAF will help infrastructure systems reduce costs and improve operations. “The IAF shows that different infrastructure systems, like traffic or water management, or utilities, share substantial needs for core enterprise architecture,” he explained. “The IAF facilitates the sharing of knowledge, best practices, and standards across organizations. It can help us use our resources more effectively. The framework is based on the work of a lot of well credentialed, smart, experienced people. Infrastructure managers can build upon the IAF, with two major advantages, lower costs and higher quality.”

Palmer added that the IAF will also help break through silos between infrastructure systems for improved collaboration in both emergency situations and to address global challenges. “Responding quickly to environmental emergencies and planning for climate change require holistic views of infrastructure services,” he said. “The IAF will jump start cross-service collaboration to address both disaster relief and to meet our needs for the production and distribution of renewable and sustainable energy, and to speed up decarbonization.” Palmer is a member of the IAF Expert Working Group.

Research leading to the IAF explored the integration of four domains of business activity necessary for the design and management of cyber-physical infrastructure systems: asset management, systems engineering, enterprise architecture, and information management.

The program is being managed by the New York Academy of Sciences with advisory support from members of ASCE, ASME, AIChE, IEEE, and INCOSE, led by Mott MacDonald.

Organizations and individuals interested in further development, piloting, or application of the IAF are encouraged to contact Jennifer Costley at jcostley@nyas.org.

For more information or to arrange an interviews, please contact:
Roger Torda, Communications Director, New York Academy of Sciences
rtorda@nyas.org / (914) 262-8700


The New York of Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science for the benefit of society. With more than 20,000 Members in 100 countries, the Academy advances scientific and technical knowledge, addresses global challenges with science-based solutions, and sponsors a wide variety of educational initiatives at all levels for STEM and STEM related fields. The Academy hosts programs and publishes content in the life and physical sciences, the social sciences, nutrition, artificial intelligence, computer science, and sustainability. For more information about the Academy, please visit: www.nyas.org.