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Infrastructure is the set of branches, industries and organizations within these branches needed for the operation of society or enterprises, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function.

It can be generally defined as the set of interconnected structural elements that provide framework supporting an entire structure of development. It is an important term for judging a country or region's development.

The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads, bridges, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications, and so forth, and can be defined as the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions. Viewed functionally, infrastructure facilitates the production of goods and services, and also the distribution of finished products to markets, as well as basic social services such as schools, hospitals and athletic facilities.

There is a distinction between "hard" and "soft" infrastructure. "Hard" infrastructure refers to the large physical networks necessary for the functioning of a modern industrial nation, whereas "soft" infrastructure refers to all the institutions which are required to maintain the economic, health, and cultural and social standards of a country, such as the financial system, the education system, the health care system, the system of government, and law enforcement, as well as emergency services.

There are three main types of infrastructure:

  • engineering infrastructure,
  • transport infrastructure,
  • social infrastructure.

Engineering, transport and social infrastructure is a complex of transport structures and communications, networks, engineering equipment, as well as objects of social, cultural and consumer services, ensuring sustainable development and operation of settlements and inter-settlement territories.

Infrastructure is important not only to ensure all-day comfort, it also plays a key role in reducing poverty. Infrastructure increases labor productivity and improves quality of life. Although the development of infrastructure significantly improves the quality of life, it is also important that this development will be sustainable in view of the care for the environment.

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