Future World Vision: Climate Change

Future World Vision: Climate Change

Future World Vision is an ASCE project that takes a look at trends and the future of our transitioning world, shedding light on how engineers can anticipate, reimagine and prepare for future changes. In this blog we present an overview of the project, the macrotrends and hypothetical “future scenarios” of how society and cities could function. The ASCE report presents six macrotrends: Alternative Energy; Autonomous Vehicles; Climate Change; Smart Cities; High-Tech Construction / Advanced Materials and Policy & Funding. These trends are poised to direct a major shift in infrastructure and the future of civil engineering.

In this blog we’ll take a deeper look into the role civil engineers will play in the Climate Change crisis.

How Civil Engineers Can Play a Key Role in a Green New Deal

How Civil Engineers Can Play a Key Role in a Green New Deal

With recent discussion of a “Green New Deal” in congress, our country’s infrastructure becomes open to a revolutionary shift. Our infrastructure, having been engineered from the bottom up, now must be redesigned with consciousness to nurture and sustain life in the 21st Century. In realizing this shift, the Civil and Structural Engineering profession has the opportunity to be on the cutting-edge of industry.

Bioretention for Post-Construction Stormwater Management

Bioretention for Post-Construction Stormwater Management

Bioretention areas, also sometimes called rain gardens, are the post-construction stormwater treatment measure of choice for commercial developments in the Bay Area. Civil engineering design often utilizes this Low Impact Development (LID) practice that combines aesthetic landscaping with engineered stormwater management systems designed to remove pollutants through natural processes. According to the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Control Board, “In the San Francisco Bay watershed, urbanization and agricultural runoff is generally considered to be the largest source of pollutants to aquatic systems.” Stormwater in cities picks up debris, oil, chemicals, etc. from impervious streets and sidewalks and washes it down the storm drain and into surrounding bodies of water rather than sinking into the ground like rainfall does in an undeveloped area. According to the C.3 Technical Guidance Handbook, a bioretention area is:

“…designed to have a surface ponding area that allows for evapotranspiration and to filter water through 18 inches of engineered biotreatment soil. After the water filters through the engineered soil, it encounters a 12-inch layer of rock in which an underdrain is typically installed. Bioretention areas may be lined or unlined depending on the hydraulic conductivity rate of the underlying soils.”