Cities worldwide are vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, which include heavier and more frequent rain events that directly impact urban systems. In addition, the US is facing a problem of aging infrastructure. The 2013 ASCE report card graded US infrastructure as a D+ and estimates a $3.6 trillion investment by 2020.
This IPRO project will encourage students to re-think the design of urban infrastructure for long-term sustainability. Particular emphasis will be given to the development and strengthening of resilience in future infrastructure. “The term ‘resilience’ refers to the ability to adapt to changing conditions and withstand and rapidly recover from disruption due to emergencies.” (The White House, 2011, Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-8: National Preparedness, March 30, Washington, D.C., p.6). This research aims to find a new balance between the natural and the urban environment, thereby designing cities that are able to adapt to rapidly changing climatic scenarios.
This IPRO project builds on previous work developed by Illinois Tech students during summer 2016 and spring 2017. The team will be guided through an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach that encompasses several fields of study, including urban planning, architecture, civil and environmental engineering, and economics.
There are two main parts to this IPRO experience: (1) The early weeks of the semester will be dedicated to review of the state-of-the-art and literature review related to resiliency and urban infrastructure, as well as synthesis and analysis of the information gathered. During this time, students will become familiar with contemporary thinking and outlook for the future, which can then lead to framing of the problem they would like to focus on. (2) The second half of the semester will be used to design a site-specific resilient infrastructure prototype within an urban environment. This prototype will demonstrate how design principles can be applied to respond to future sustainability challenges in order to achieve a balance between the natural world with the manmade.