I am writing from the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS) which was established within New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service in January 1998 with five-year funding from the National Science Foundation.  ICIS is bringing together social scientists, engineers and community groups in order to re-think the development and management of transportation, water, energy, communication, and waste management systems in ways that are more integrative and responsive to community needs and goals.  NYU is joined by three partnering institutions; Cornell University, Polytechnic University of New York, and the University of Southern California.  Our efforts are focused on five interrelated program areas: sustainability and coordinated infrastructure renewal, education, community awareness and participation, performance measurement, and research needs.

As part of our community initiative, we are seeking ways in which we can both gather and provide information relevant to communities facing infrastructure issues and decisions.  The focus on community awareness and participation in the process leads us to think about Community Networks as one way to reach and be reached by communities.  We are interested in both researching and promoting innovative community solutions and ways of involvement, and CNs have put themselves on the cutting edge of such work.

Our goal is to become a helpful resource for CNs and community groups across the country.  Initially, we are collecting information about the various types of infrastructure issues that communities are facing and how they are dealing with them.  With this information, we plan to analyze and summarize what the current national trends are in terms of communities solving infrastructure problems and influencing decisions that shape the outcome of particular projects.  As these trends emerge, we can highlight innovative and effective strategies for community involvement and influence.  We will post the findings on our website, which will serve as an ongoing resource to community groups.  Eventually, we will be able to provide concrete strategies for successful community participation as well as inform and influence the national infrastructure agenda with our findings.  We also envision this sharing of information as a way to empower community groups that are facing similar problems across the country.  What is working in Philadelphia can inform and encourage success with an issue being faced in Los Angeles and so on. 

In order to do this, we are asking for specific information about infrastructure issues that are currently being discussed and debated through CNs and getting played out in communities throughout the country:

·       What are the issues?
·       Who are the people and organizations/community groups/agencies that are actively involved?
·       What are the most pressing concerns?
·       What are the greatest success stories?and failures?
·       What strategies have worked for groups in your community?

Please visit our website ( to find out more about us.  We are currently re-designing this site with CNs in mind, and your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Nate Gilbertson
Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems
ICIS Home page:
Email: [log in to unmask]
411 Lafayette Street, Room 300
New York, NY 10003-7032
Phone: (212) 992-9870
Fax: (212) 995-4875