Nadia's Intern Diaries: #1

Hi everyone! My name is Nadia Whitehouse and I am the summer intern at Verdunity this year. I am a Civil Engineering student attending Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. My focus is on Water Resources and Environmental engineering, so when the possibility of interning at Verdunity came up, I was very eager to learn all I could. I am interested in sustainable development and helping communities reach their full potential, so I was excited to start as soon as I could. I would be able to help some communities near my hometown in Dallas, so it was the perfect internship. I knew I wanted to learn a lot, but little did I know how much my viewpoint would change.

"Health, safety, and welfare"

Sustainable engineering and development has been something I had been conscious about for quite some time. Growing up in Germany, I was surrounded by towns that placed an emphasis on bike paths and trails, keeping urban sprawl to a minimum and spending a lot of time focusing on the culture within the community. When I came to Texas, I was astounded how far apart the suburbs were and how many roads existed. According to TxDOT, they maintain over 79,000 miles of road in Texas. 79,000 miles! And that number continues to increase on a daily basis! I never understood where the money was coming from to maintain those roads, until discussions at work where I discovered that they don’t have the money. Communities have so many expenses and they cannot fix every single road problem, drainage problem, etc. that occurs. As new engineers and urban planners, we need to focus on finding a solution to the problems that our communities face. According to the National Society of Professional Engineers, engineers need to “hold paramount the health, safety and welfare of the public”. We need to develop ways that cities and towns can spend their money wisely and can then spend more time focusing on the citizens and not all of the infrastructure problems. That way, we can fulfill one of our fundamental duties of protecting the welfare of the public.

At my university, we do not spend much time discussing the issues of sustainability and infrastructure issues that exist all around the country. Like I said previously, I did not know these problems existed until I came to work here and heard about StrongTowns, the Congress for New Urbanism and how Verdunity collaborates with them. I’m not saying that universities or students don’t care about these issues, the news just hasn't reached us yet. Therefore, I hope that if you are a college student or someone who has never heard of the above topics, go research them! Learn all you can and then bring those ideas to your workplace and your university. I have only been here for two weeks and Verdunity has opened my eyes into a new way of thinking about building and developing our world. Over the next few weeks, I hope to chronicle my experiences with you and share what I have learned from the eyes of a student.

Until next week,

Nadia

Good city, good business

Natural systems are infrastructure, too