Carnegie Mellon University

The Green Design Institute (GDI) at Carnegie Mellon University seeks to conduct, foster, and promote research pertaining to infrastructure and systems growth in the developing world.

While adequate infrastructure is a key building block in elevating quality of life and social welfare, it is critical to pursue a balanced development path cognizant of both the returns to investment in systems and the associated environmental and human impacts. Broadly, research at the GDI seeks to find this balance.

Access to modern infrastructure services is critical to global development and human well-being. According to the International Energy Agency, over 1.2 billion people in the world do not have access to electricity, while 3 billion people lack access to modern fuels for cooking and heating. Similarly, the United Nation reports that 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services.

International organizations are investing billions of dollars to support global development efforts. Such efforts, which aim to combat poverty and promote human well-being, need to also consider the externalities associated with global development. Such externalities include degradation of air and water resources, cultural degradation, and climate change. 

At GDI, we aim to develop a research portfolio that supports decision-making for sustainable infrastructure systems and global development. Such research focuses on four cross cutting themes, as described here.