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Post-Black Swan Event Infrastructure: Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Post-Black Swan Event Infrastructure: Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

Moderator: David Miller, North American Director, C40 Cities; Former Mayor of the City of Toronto; former President of WWF-Canada

John Williams, Chair, Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
Nick Russo, Harris County Texas 
Mark Pestrella, LA County Public Works
Hardeep Anand, Miami Dade County

This moderated panel pauses to ask the question, “what did we learn from recent Black Swan (major unpredictable) events and recession that now influences infrastructure planning decisions?”  It has never been clearer that much of the infrastructure that we rely on to move us around, support our economy, and keep us safe as well as healthy needs significant rethinking given the implications of the last year.  This panel includes leaders from four major jurisdiction in two countries.  Each had their own unique, regionally specific challenges. Each took different approaches to setting the stage for recovery and enhanced resilience.  Each is assuming that federal funding will catalyze a transition to infrastructure that is up to the challenges of the 21st century.  There will be strings attached to that funding in the form of new expectations in response to climate change, the ongoing threat of pandemic, systematic racism, as well as public security and questions of fairness and equity.  Infrastructure projects are shaped by the engineering community.  Mayor Miller and his panelists will describe how they are collaborating with and shaping the direction engineers move in as they respond to new demands.  He will also probe ways in which each city and county are preparing to make the case for sustainability given extreme economic pressures.

The audience can expect to hear about flood control, mobility, communications, water supply, and global supply chain initiatives.  They will also hear about plans for innovation in procurement, economic analysis, and steps being taken to leverage infrastructure investments lift the vulnerable class.

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