Intersection: Climate Resiliency, Infrastructure Modernization, and Equity
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law sets the stage for infrastructure investment on a scale, across a breadth of infrastructure elements, and at a speed of execution not seen in 50 years. Concurrently, Presidential Directive Justice40 provides criteria for project selection across initiatives that specifically include increasing climate resiliency and closing social equity gaps. We, civil engineers, are being called on to help solve the puzzle: increase climate resiliency, modernize infrastructure, and set conditions for positive change in social equity.
This session addresses the question ‘how, with whom, and with what data?’, introducing a decision framework that integrates ‘metrics that matter’ from climate resilience, infrastructure performance, and social impact disciplines into an interactive matrix, and identifying authoritative federal, regional, and local data that improves insights that support optimization in project development, selection, and implementation. To complete the puzzle, the session identifies key agencies, offices, and specialties that make-up effective cross-disciplinary teams that enable collaboration within the community itself and between local, state, and federal stakeholders.
To put things in context, the session cites climate event case studies including the non-tropical rain event flooding in Nashville (2010), the tropical rain event (Harvey) flooding in Houston (2017), the temperature and precipitation power-grid event in Texas (2021), and the tropical remnant rain event (Ida) flooding in New York (2021). Lessons drawn will help our profession continue to develop as members serve as experts, collaborators, and leaders in addressing the top challenges of our time: climate resiliency, infrastructure performance, and social equity.