Infrastructure Must Catch Up With Climate Change

The worsening effects of extreme weather events are accelerating the deterioration of critical infrastructure, leaving communities more vulnerable.

1 minute read

August 4, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Sandbags in a flood with flooded buildings in background

Marc Bruxelle / Flood

Writing in Axios, Andrew Freedman highlights the urgency of building resilient infrastructure in a changing climate. Pointing to recent examples of flooding, fires, and heat waves devastating communities across the country, Freedman writes, “This summer has demonstrated again and again that our infrastructure is not sufficient to withstand the changed climate of today, let alone the impacts on the horizon.” 

“We have long designed our infrastructure as if the climate conditions and extremes of the past, such as the definition of a 100-year, 500-year or even 1,000-year flood in a particular location, would hold true in the future.” But predictive models about climate change may not accurately capture the rate of change, Freedman notes. “Some climate scientists and activists raise the possibility that climate change is already resulting in surprises missing in their models, such as the breaching of the once unthinkable temperature of 104°F (40°C) in the U.K., for example.” 

With extreme heat waves becoming more likely, fires growing more powerful, and floods affecting more places, upgrading and replacing aging infrastructure must happen at a much faster pace than previously thought.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 in Axios

Rendering of electric scooters, electric cars, light rail train, and apartments in background.

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

"It's The Climate" sign over street in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan

Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.

February 18, 2024 - The Daily Yonder

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25 - Wired

Front of an Spanish style bungalow with striped window awnings and a tree and yard landscaped with cacti.

‘Culinary Hubs’ Turn Homes Into Micro-Restaurants

Real estate developers around the country are converting old single-family homes into “culinary hubs,” reports The New York Times.

February 25 - The New York Times

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25 - Fox 59

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.