SHOCK (not) Horror

Prof Stephanie Glendinning

Newcastle University

September 2011 to November 2013

AIM: The hypothesis of the research is that the study of infrastructure shocks through medical allegories will enable a fundamental shift in thinking of current infrastructure to understanding it as a system of systems of infrastructural interconnections that can help foster sustainable futures. The aim is to understand trauma as a lever to unlock higher and more impactful levels of intervention across integrated infrastructure systems.


  • To produce a synthesis of medical knowledge and infrastructure knowledge to construct allegories of systems under trauma;
  • To use these allegories to develop models of the socio-technical configuration of infrastructure systems of systems which represent the interests and priorities of relevant stakeholders;
  • To evolve a repertoire of shock through using the allegories to critically analyse existing socio-technical models of infrastructure systems and identify system intervention points that differentiate between higher level and lower level interventions within industry practice;
  • Using the repertoire of shock to develop learning experiments to enable creative thinking for organisational change in responding to unsustainability; and
  • To develop a research agenda aimed at realising the potential of shocks as vehicles of transformation, including designs for infrastructure monitoring schemes, urban laboratory experiments and education and training programmes.