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Infrastructure


Definition
The underlying foundation or framework of a system, organization, or location. It is often classified as either “hard” or “soft.”
 
Key Context
Hard infrastructure includes railroads, bridges, water systems, subway systems, and telecommunications. Soft infrastructure is human capital, or knowledge and skills, along with the schools and training programs that develop it. For example, the editors at a magazine are part of the magazine’s human capital infrastructure, as they provide knowledge and skills to run the magazine. A school of journalism is also part of the soft infrastructure of the magazine business.  In general, developed nations have well-planned hard and soft infrastructure. In contrast, developing countries often suffer from inadequate infrastructure. In some extreme cases certain types of infrastructure—sanitation, for example, or schools—may be nonexistent.