#buildfortomorrow, #InfrastructureWeek2019, Infrastructure, North America, Resilience, Water

For this year’s Infrastructure Week, May 13-20, we are sharing insight from our leaders and employees that examine how the infrastructure choices we make today will shape our future. Follow the conversation on our blog and on social media as we #BuildForTomorrow.

Our changing climate is placing billions of people and assets throughout the world at risk. The wellbeing of those in harm’s way will be determined by our ability to adapt and build resilient infrastructure.

Resilience speaks to the ability of a community, organization, or system to absorb or quickly recover from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To assess and enhance resilience, we must understand the impact of a risk, how to mitigate it, how and when to transfer the risk, and we need to understand which risks we must accept.

As our climate continues to change, severe storms will become more frequent and powerful, sea levels will continue to rise and the risk associated with flooding will continue to increase. Flooding is the most frequent severe weather threat and the costliest natural disaster facing our nation. As we encounter more intense storms and grapple with rising sea levels, our cities and their infrastructure grow more and more vulnerable. Our infrastructure needs to be strengthened and adapted to meet the increased pressure on our systems.

Unfortunately, in today’s market, resiliency follows recovery when it should be the other way around. The Rebuild By Design process that followed Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast has helped spawn a new way of thinking in the post-disaster recovery process, and while federal funding sources for post-disaster areas allow our clients to rebuild in a smarter, more resilient fashion, we need to find ways to fund resiliency projects ahead of disasters. Grants, stormwater utilities or “rain taxes”, and public, private partnerships can help our clients bridge their funding gaps and assess the costs and benefits of potential resiliency projects using our “triple bottom line” approach. This approach has proven to be an effective, innovative strategy for assessing the social, environmental and financial realities of their resiliency projects.

At AECOM, we strive to foster safe, secure and resilient infrastructure through collaborative engagement among our public and private sector partners, developing customized solutions to meet our client’s needs. Infrastructure resilience as more than just an operational cost; it is a vital investment that begins as a concept and continues through the lifecycle of the structure or system, following the design and build.

Originally published May 14, 2019

Author: Chris Benosky