Portsmouth Business School

Infrastructure and Technology


This pillar covers three key topics areas in relation to infrastructure and technology and the significance of both natural and human infrastructures in enhancing development capacitieis and capabilities. The topics areas cover key issues identified by RCUK by focusing on the services provided by both humanly produced and natural resources as well as the development of sustainable, resilient and local solutions to living in uncertain and hazardous environments.  The topics areas focus on using appropriate and advanced technologies in development to promote sustainable economic growth through influencing behaviour and practices. The promotion of capacity and capabilities building at different scales through these technologies will enhance the potential for a fair and just social development.  The key topic areas covered by this pillar are:

  • Valuation and impact of infrastructure - the identification and valuation of human and natural infrastructure and their significance in development
  • Appropriate technologies and development of infrastructure - the development, evaluation and application of appropriate technologies in the construction of resilient and sustainability infrastructure and their significance for development in practice
  • Technologies and capability expansion - technologies as creators of capacities and capabilities in development

Pillar Lead: Rob Inkpen - Reader in Physical Geography

Topic 1: Valuation and Impact of Infrastructure


A key research focus is the identification of the impact of geophysical disasters on infrastructure  in developing economies and the impact of such events no the physical, technological, economic and social infrastructure. Importantly, the vulnerability of infrastructure and populations can be mapped and analysed before a disaster strikes through the use of low-cost imagery and this information used in preventative planning and management of urban spaces.  The same technologies and methods can be used to develop resilient infrastructure with the potential for this information informing community-based decision-making (Richard Teeuw).

The long-term resilience of  infrastructure to both shocks of disasters and the chronic issues of development are an essentials research focus that require the detailed analysis of often incomplete datasets as well as the ability to produce robust forecasts of future resilience to impacts (Gianpiero Torrisi).

Topic 2: Appropriate Technologies and Development of Infrastructure


There is a compelling necessity for the scientific analysis and development of appropriate technologies for the production of building materials from different types of wastes. Agricultural and industrial wastes are terms use to describe waste produced on farms and industries through various activities. The concept of waste as a building material is the use of agricultural or industrial by-product in the form of fibres, grains and ashes in addition to other materials such as earth and binders to produce building materials that are environmental friendly, socially accepted and affordable in order to produce low-cost and low-energy housing to promote sustainability in construction (Muhammad Ali, Brett Martinson and Humphrey Danso).

Sustainable development of urban areas is a key driver of research into effective rainwater harvesting (Brett Martinson, Heather Rumble) and into the development of ‘green space’ in urban areas. Effective regulation of urban space to enhance sustainability requires an understanding of both the physical nature and use of that space as well as the socio-economic and cultural context of urban space (Heather Rumble, Rob Inkpen).

Development of appropriate technologies needs to recognise the key role of mobile technologies in enabling and enhancing community-based actions. The technical as well as the social and educational problems of communities using mobile technologies in developing a complex and interconnected infrastructure is a key research focus (Carl Adams).

Topic 3: Technologies and Capability Expansion


Mobile technologies can enable both individual and community development through their ability to connect individuals and communities into local and wider economic and social networks. The innovate use of such technologies and their enabling role in expanding individual and community-based capabilities is a key focus of research. (Carl Adams and Rob Inkpen).

Software and information technology policies in Brazil, with particular reference to inclusion, the development of social capital and knowledge goods through the use of digital resources, in alliance with civil society and the third sector.  On an international level, global internet governance and the assertion of the autonomous ownership and distribution of knowledge are a central developmental goal for the Global South (Margaret Clarke). 


Academic Staff:

1. Carl Adams - Principal Lecturer (School of Computing)

2. Mohammad Ali - Senior Lectuer (School of Civil Engineering and Surveying)

3. Margaret Clarke - Senior Lecturer (School of Languages and Area Studies)

4. Humphrey Danso - Research Student (School of Civil Engineering and Surveying)

5. Brett Martinson - Senior Lecturer (School of Civil Engineering and Surveying)

6. Heather Rumble - Lecturer in Environmental Geograph (Geography)

7. Richard Teeuw - Principal Lecturer (Earth and Environmental Sciences)

8. Gianpiero Torrisi - Senior Lecturer (Economics and Finance)

PhD students:

1. Mathias Leidig - Filling the Data Poverty Gap: the effectiveness of free geospatial data and free geoinformatic software for Disaster Risk education applications

2. Martin Parnham - The effectiveness of education in raising awareness of hazards and risk reduction, a longitudinal study of high school students in Dominica.

3. Naomi Morris - Effective Information Management in the Disaster Response and Humanitarian Sectors.