SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive & sustainable industrialization & fostering innovation is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9). This goal strives to build resilient infrastructure, promote responsible industrialization, & enhance research and technology capabilities.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure as told in the 2021 Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report, & then expanded on below, illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

The United Nations defines infrastructure as roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electrical power, and water. Goal 9 aims to build resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and innovative infrastructure. Even basic infrastructure has the potential to spark economic growth, social development, and climate action.

Auburn University is moderately engaged with Goal 9 across many categories of teaching, research, and outreach, with no less than 30 courses offered between 2016 and 2018. One of Auburn University’s goals included in the 2019-2024 strategic plan describes Auburn University’s intent to provide “practical and innovative solutions to social, economic and environmental issues.” Innovative infrastructure can deliver on all three of those fronts – society, economy, and environment – to achieve both Auburn University’s goals and Goal 9.

View the 2021 report titled Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

The College of Architecture, Design, and Construction’s Environmental Design (ENVD) program focuses on the interconnected nature of all design and construction disciplines. Many courses provide students with the opportunity to initiate and complete a project focusing on community engagement and utilizing integration of research and collaborative methods. Students have the opportunity to enhance their education with skills in design and design thinking that foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Students who acquire an ENVD degree are adaptable in the real world, possess the ability to approach issues from many different angles, and offer innovative, constructive, and effective human-centric problem-solving methods in the built environment.

Environmental Design Student by poster sdg Photo courtesy of Magdalena Garmez
Students in Engineers Without Borders with kids: Photo courtesy of Engineers Without Borders - Auburn University

The purpose of the Auburn University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is to work with communities in developing countries to promote sustainable solutions to practical problems. EWB aims to build a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. EWB offers students hands-on learning experiences in conjunction with opportunities for service. While EWB conducts engineering projects, the organization is open to students of all majors. EWB teams work in Alabama, Bolivia, and Rwanda, developing sustainable solutions locally and globally.

College of Engineering’s NCAT is focused on evaluating and developing new technologies that make roads smoother, quieter, safer, longer lasting, and more economical. NCAT’s research centerpiece is a high-speed, full-scale accelerated asphalt pavement testing facility. NCAT’s research findings are used to improve materials, tests, specifications, and design policies. Agencies use this research to preserve their roadway networks and maximize their budgets. NCAT is committed to its mission of providing innovative, relevant, implementable research, technology development, and education that advances safe and economically sustainable asphalt pavements.

People laying asphalt SDG 9 Photo courtesy of National Center for Asphalt Technology

People & Stories

We are Partners in the Business of Preserving Life

| Director's Corner, SDG1, SDG17, SDG2, SDG9 | No Comments
“A successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships — at the global, regional, national, and local levels — built upon principles and values, and upon a shared vision and shared goals placing people and the planet at the centre.” ~ Sustainable Development Goal 17 The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a…

Campus Changemaker: Dr. Sweta Byahut

| SDG1, SDG11, SDG6, SDG7, SDG9, Sustainability in Action | No Comments
By Chloe McMahon. Dr. Sweta Byahut serves as an Associate Professor and current Director at Auburn’s Community Planning graduate program. She has been teaching at Auburn for nearly nine years. A seasoned urban planner, her passion for sustainable urban development is evident both in her teaching and research. Since she…

Sustainable Community Planning Addresses the Racist Origins of Interstate Highways

| Guest Posts, SDG11, SDG8, SDG9 | No Comments
By Rebecca Retzlaff.   For this month’s theme of sustainability goal 8: decent work and economic growth, I want to focus on transportation equity, an often-overlooked, but nonetheless essential, component of working and economic growth. A few years ago, my historic preservation planning class (CPLN 5400/6400) was working on a historic…

Director’s Corner: Innovate, Or Else

| Director's Corner, SDG15, SDG2, SDG7, SDG8, SDG9 | No Comments
"The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones. It ended because it was time for a re-think about how we live." ~William McDonough Photo credit: Haiku Deck This month in our exploration of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, created by 193 countries under the auspices of…

Campus Changemaker: Benjamin Burmester

| SDG9, Sustainability in Action | No Comments
Campus Planner, Benjamin Burmester Benjamin Burmester has a long history with Auburn University. A former student, Burmester, has worked with the University since 2013, where he was originally hired to be a Campus Planner. Last year, Burmester’s position was reclassified, and he now works as a University and Transportation Site…

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