Message from the Chair

November 14, 2020 (The 62nd Conference of the Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management (ZOOM Conference))

As of June 2020, I have succeeded Akimasa Fujiwara as Chairman of the Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management of JSCE. I would like to say a few words about the appointment.

First, I would like to draw attention to the current unusual scenario, in which two consecutive conferences following the Spring conferences must be held online. The expansion of the third wave of the pandemic is still a concern, and there is no prospect of it ending at all. One of the concerns is that the infection situation varies widely among countries and regions. The coronavirus has caused division in communities and reductions in mobility. This is an urgent issue for those who are engaged in infrastructure planning and management. There are many situations where drastic changes are required, such as the penetration of distance learning and telework, the ideal state of urban and national structures, measures to maintain public transportation under social distance, and urban/regional policies for revitalizing local communities.

Starting with the symposium on April 1, 2022, under the leadership of former Chairman Akimasa Fujiwara and Secretary-General Satoshi Fujii, a new D4 field that advocates “policy and practice” in addition to the conventional D3 field of infrastructure planning and management, is underway. In the field of thesis collection, we have established a clear distinction between “Planning theories of civil engineering,” which is based on numerical theory, and “Planning practices of civil engineering,” which is based on policy practice and has been discussed since the inception of infrastructure planning and management studies in 1966. Not only practitioners but also university researchers have implemented important policymaking and infrastructure planning and management practices in the real world. To pass on your experience, knowledge, and wisdom to future generations, I hope that you will submit papers to the D4 field. Specifically, we are aiming to accept papers starting with the next spring conference.

In real life, natural disasters will continue to occur. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, autonomous driving and recent trends in digitalization are likely to progress at a rapid pace. Because of the wide area covered by civil engineering planning, it seems that some aspects have not yet been able to respond to the demands of society. Personally, I believe that we should further accelerate personnel exchange beyond the framework of civil engineering and incorporation of technology. To expand the scope, it is necessary to disseminate the significance of the Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management to society. I will not be able to conclude which method is appropriate immediately, but I would like to continue making efforts as the chairman.

Also, I would like to express my heartfelt prayers for your health and physical fitness. I am looking forward to meeting you at the conference as usual, not remotely. Even if we say “as usual,” we may no longer be able to return to “as usual,” but it may be said that it is proof that we humans have acquired a little wisdom. As we begin our new lives, I would like to ask for your continued support as I take up my new position.

Tetsuro Hyodo, Chair