Resilience of Underground Infrastructure – Use of Digital Engineering

About this project

Project description

As climate change and population increases start to impact the environment and infrastructure, there is a growing need for cities to become more resilient. The concept of resilience is a potentially fundamental characteristic of our socio-technical urban communities to capture the resilience of critical infrastructure systems. Inescapably, social impacts and community acceptance of infrastructure proposals must be considered one of the critical factors in design. This means however that large Infrastructure projects are at risk due to non-social acceptance, non-community acceptance thus completely undermining an informed engineering solution. This work will lead to enhanced interpretations of the behaviour of interdependent critical infrastructures, particularly under conditions of increasing density and underground space development. In this way, the importance of investment in the urban underground space can be demonstrated as a key element approach of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment for better planning in our urban environments.

Digital and sustainability transition are the two major trends happening in the architecture, construction, and engineering (AEC) industry worldwide. The industry movement is revolutionizing the AEC industry, which is being digitalized rapidly at both the project and regional levels. For planning and construction of the most effective and efficient design, to achieve the most optimised design, digital engineering is the response. Within the preliminary design, some changes are unavoidable, whilst these are further discovered during construction or modification of the design due to unforeseen characteristics. Thus, parametric modelling is currently developing and extensively used in the industry to achieve the optimum design within a short period of time. The applicability of parametric modelling demonstrates defining the support system development, assessment of constructability with the focus on Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment analysis of urban infrastructure development. This work will focus on the adoption of digital engineering and its usage of parametric design to investigate resilience while the project is still in its procurement and/or infinite stage of delivery.


This project aims to explore how climate change and population growth will impact critical infrastructure in the future. From here, the following objectives are to be determined:

  • How underground infrastructure can become more resilient;
  • How underground infrastructure can become more sustainable;
  • How underground infrastructure can ultimately adopt digital engineering.


  • Identify infrastructure development risks due to non-social and non-community acceptance.
  • Develop risk-based design decisions for resilient infrastructure.
  • Study interdependencies between factors influencing resilience of critical infrastructure.
  • Identify and apply empirical and analytical methods for preliminary design.
  • Identify key elements of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment approaches for better planning, construction, and operation & maintenance.
  • Understand the scaling effect and utilize parametric design to simulate resilient infrastructure design incorporating Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Knowledge of Structural and/or Mechanical Engineering with academic achievement.

Desireable capabilities

Infrastructure and Sustainability.

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

Civil Engineering.

Candidate Discipline

Underground Space Resilience Digital Engineering Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment.

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Associate professor Jurij Karlovsek

School of Civil Engineering
IITD Supervisor

Professor Dipti Sahoo

Department of Civil Engineering