Changing Our Expectations for Infrastructure Systems

There is a need to approach the planning and design of our community’s infrastructure systems in a smarter way. Everything that we build below or above the ground sets an expectation that we will be able to maintain and replace that infrastructure in the future. That financial burden has been placed on my generation by generation’s past, and I’m doing the same to the generations that will come after me. I believe that it’s my responsibility to plan and design our infrastructure in a manner that considers the future financial, quality of life and environmental impacts of those systems. Infrastructure systems from the singular utility line to the grand spectrum of the overall systems that serve our region are critical to our community’s resilience and competitiveness moving forward.

I joined VERDUNITY last September because we share the common vision that, as engineers and designers, we must embrace the responsibilities we have to enhance the overall quality of life within our local communities and beyond. I’ve always advocated for collaborative approaches between all disciplines and stakeholders versus traditional siloed and discipline specific approaches to infrastructure design. VERDUNITY embraces this concept and will continue to be on the leading edge of sustainable planning and design concepts.

My immediate focus is to continue to advance the implementation of green infrastructure practices within the Dallas-Fort Worth region. We’ve made a lot of progress in North Texas over the past decade, but the fact remains that we are only seeing sporadic implementations of true green infrastructure strategies. The reason behind this sluggishness is that we have failed to address the misinformed statement that ‘green infrastructure costs more’. My goal is to address that by showing the true financial benefits of green infrastructure implementation at site, neighborhood and watershed levels. Through our partnership with Impact Infrastructure, LLC, the developer of AutocaseTM, we are leading the way with the development of green infrastructure integration strategies based on sound economics, quality of life and environmental metrics. 

Make sure to subscribe to or bookmark the VERDUNITY Community blog. My next post will explore how we are approaching the green infrastructure implementation challenge locally. I’ll also let you know how to get involved with advocacy efforts related to the federal green infrastructure legislation being reviewed by House and Senate committees. 

~ Mikel