An interdisciplinary team of 12 Harvard Graduate School of Design students worked with Dr. Andreas Georgoulias, Lecturer in Architecture and director of the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure, to deliver the Inter-American Development Bank Private Sector Infrastructure Sustainability Awards, or Infrastructure 360° Awards.

The sponsored research project between Harvard and the Inter-American Development Bank started in the end of 2012 by developing two pilot case studies on infrastructure projects in Latin America. Since then, it developed into the first voluntary recognition and assessment program for infrastructure sustainability in Latin America.

The purpose of the Infrastructure 360° Awards is to identify, assess and reward sustainable infrastructure investments made by the private sector and public private partnerships in the IDB borrowing member countries.

Ana-Maria Vidaurre, principal investment officer in IDB and the lead contact for the Harvard-IDB collaboration, points out:  "The 360° Awards will recognize outstanding sustainability practices in infrastructure investments in the region with emphasis on climate and environment, as well as leading practices in social impact, governance and innovation."

The research was a truly interdisciplinary effort both on the projects studied and also on the backgrounds of the Harvard students and researchers involved. More than 50 project applications from 18 countries in the region were received, including airports, waste water treatment plants, highways, energy transmission lines, wind farms, etc.

The main objective of the research is to help identify, raise awareness and promote ways in which sustainable approaches by the private sector and public private partnerships in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean can be used to plan, design, construct and operate infrastructure projects.

The 12 most promising projects were selected for further study by a GSD team, which included: Maria Ignacia, MDes Risk & Resilience 2015; Juan Cristaldo, MAUD 2013;  Arianna Galan, MArch I 2015; Jennifer Lee, MAUD 2014; Emanuel Torres, MAUD 2014; Isabella Royo, MLA 2016; Marianne Barrera, MAUD 2014; Manuela Guzman, MAUD 2014; Judith Rodriguez, MLA 2013; and Julie Mercier, MDes ,Risk & Resilience; 2015.

Research associates Hatzav Yoffee (MLA 2013) and Cristina Contreras worked with the students on the detailed project assessments and develop case studies.

“The main objective of the research is to help identify, raise awareness and promote ways in which sustainable approaches by the private sector and public private partnerships in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean can be used to plan, design, construct and operate infrastructure projects”, said Dr. Andreas Georgoulias, the project’s principal investigator.

To select the three winners, the IDB invited a jury of experts from the region and also from around the world, including Rajendra Pachauri who received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Luis Alberto Moreno, the President of IDB presented the awards at the IDB’s annual meeting in Bahia, Brazil on March 28th, 2014.

"The collaboration between our program and the Inter-American Development Bank is yielding remarkable results, and is getting stronger every year as we both have a common objective: support sustainable development", said prof. Spiro Pollalis, director of the Zofnass Program.

The collaboration between our program and the Inter-American Development Bank is yielding remarkable results, and is getting stronger every year as we both have a common objective: support sustainable development.