What you’ve got you have to try to keep, as fabric for society. For civilization, in fact, putting it more grandly. It is part of the manifest bedrock upon which, in our communities, we have connections and services that work at scale, helping dreams to be pursued and have some chance of delivering on needs.

Civil engineering is a grand enterprise.

Sometimes people plain get so immersed in its products, though. It can come to be quite hard to see the wood for the trees. Appreciation of what is… is no longer there. It often can be lost. Especially in the West, or the so-called First World.

Such appreciation is not so absent in developing nations.

But when infrastructure ages and needs repaired, or maintenance is not invested in and assets gradually deteriorate, or even if conditions change in a region and what were once reliable structures are no longer quite so robust against the slaps and slams of nature, then even the First World wakes up. Sees the woods.

That it takes such a shake isn’t the greatest sign of what sometimes passes for consciousness in societal or community values, whether at the levels of towns or counties or states or provinces. Nations, too. But not all are blind.

However, with international forces in play to ratchet up costs and threatening to rattle the economic scenarios of projects and upkeep of assets, inflation is jumping. Budgets are being worried over. The cost of borrowing is rising.

The matter, as ever, is what to decide is important to invest in, for the future, and how more efficiently that can be obtained. As shown in this issue, there are many and diverse ways that underground projects are important to society.

Engineering ingenuity takes on and overcomes challenges, and problems. Developing technology and hard work are always present, below ground. Out of sight often but economically the benefits should never be out of mind.

Patrick Reynolds Editor