Infrastructure and longterm wellbeing

This commentary report accompanies a rapid review of evidence about how physical infrastructure influences long-term wellbeing, commissioned by the Welsh Government to help inform its approach to infrastructure planning and investment.

The review summarises evidence from a wide range of research traditions and disciplines which shows how physical infrastructure has a significant influence on long-term wellbeing. It is clear from the evidence that impacts can be positive and negative depending, in part, on which of the many different dimensions of wellbeing are considered.

Our review provides a summary of evidence about some of the potential ways in which investment in infrastructure influences long-term wellbeing, rather than enabling detailed comparisons between different forms of infrastructure, or providing recommendations about what kinds of infrastructure to invest in to have the biggest impact.

The commentary report supplements the evidence in the review by providing additional context and detail, offering further guidance about how findings should be interpreted to inform infrastructure decision-making.

The remaining sections of the report set out:

  • Why infrastructure investment matters to long-term wellbeing;
  • How the relationship between infrastructure and wellbeing has been understood in different policy and research contexts;
  • The implications of different approaches to defining and measuring wellbeing;
  • Trade-offs involved in wellbeing approaches to infrastructure decision-making;
  • How to interpret the evidence on infrastructure and wellbeing; and
  • Implications for infrastructure planning and decision-making to maximise the impacts of infrastructure investment on long-term wellbeing.