What is Social Infrastructure and what does it mean to me?

If you’ve been following the work of Re-Code over the last few years, you’ll likely know that ‘Building Social Infrastructure’ has been the organizing framework for much of our work.

Broadly speaking, social infrastructure is the set of organizational arrangements and investments in society’s systems, relationships, and structures that enable us to create a more resilient, just, equitable, and sustainable world. It includes social, economic, environmental and cultural assets.

There are numerous examples of social infrastructure in postsecondary education: offering bursaries to students with specific barriers to accessing education, convening researchers and securing funds to address complex social problems, and using procurement policies to support local businesses. We believe that educational institutions can use the idea of social infrastructure as a way to mobilize all the resources at their disposal to create even more positive social change. We’re pretty excited about this work and you can read more about it here, and here.

The thing is, we realized thanks to feedback from our partners that we needed a much better Call to Action. “Build Social Infrastructure!”, we came to understand somewhat belatedly, isn’t a particularly helpful rallying call. Our theoretical framework wasn’t translating into practical actions.

In response we’re happy to share the following “What does social infrastructure mean to me” series. Sure it’s a bit niche, but sometimes you need to get into the weeds.

Each of the following seven papers targets a specific stakeholder groups (students, elders, faculty, presidents, VPs external, VPs finance and VPs research) and aims to identify what YOU can do today, from your desk, or your phone, but most importantly, at your school to create a more resilient, just, equitable, and sustainable world.

Please share any feedback or ideas you have on what else can be done. We’re just starting out and we need your help.

We are excited to be on this journey with you.

Chad and Kelly