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A Sustainable Civil Works

Presented By Heather Morgan

Broadcast Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This presentation will highlight the new initiative to mainstream large scale sustainability concepts, governance, guiding principles, and design from land planning to operations and maintenance of our built infrastructure. Our agency must respond to these changed values that have shifted from an industrial perspective to a post-industrial perspective. Federal agencies are under increasing pressure to couple economic growth with social and ecological responsibility, and resource conservation. Sustainability is not an end-state: It is an attribute of dynamic, adaptive systems that evolve and grow in the face of uncertainty and constant change. We must shift in seeing our systems as orderly, mechanical, and reasonably predictable, and be vigilant in accepting its chaotic, complex, uncertain, and unpredictable. We must look at what we build with a new lens, not as a fixed asset, but as a continually changing process; not as being, but as a becoming. We must incorporate dynamic interplay of persistence, adaptability, and transformability, across multiple business lines, scales and timeframes. What should our Civil Works look like in 250 years...?This presentation will highlight the new initiative to mainstream large scale sustainability concepts, governance, guiding principles, and design from land planning to operations and maintenance of our built infrastructure. Our agency must respond to these changed values that have shifted from an industrial perspective to a post-industrial perspective. Federal agencies are under increasing pressure to couple economic growth with social and ecological responsibility, and resource conservation. Sustainability is not an end-state: It is an attribute of dynamic, adaptive systems that evolve and grow in the face of uncertainty and constant change. We must shift in seeing our systems as orderly, mechanical, and reasonably predictable, and be vigilant in accepting its chaotic, complex, uncertain, and unpredictable. We must look at what we build with a new lens, not as a fixed asset, but as a continually changing process; not as being, but as a becoming. We must incorporate dynamic interplay of persistence, adaptability, and transformability, across multiple business lines, scales and timeframes. What should our Civil Works look like in 250 years...?

Our Presenter, Heather M. Morgan, currently serves as Civil Works Sustainability Program Manager at Headquarters for the US Army Corps of Engineers. She worked in the fields of landscape architecture, land planning and landscape archaeology for over 10 years before joining USACE in 2009 (NY District.) Ms Morgan applies a transdisciplinary strategy in analyzing water resource projects for merging and redefining the relationship between our human infrastructure and the natural systems they are nested in for future sustainable security. Her position integrates a post-industrial value system into the medium of water infrastructure for the country’s Civil Works program. Her project experience ranges from coastal storm risk reduction, flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, community planning for public and private lands, and ethnographic landscapes.

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