Life in the Tails: Behavioral Economics

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in California, Cities, Culture, Energy Policy, Engineering, Environment, Public Policy, Science and Technology, Systems Engineering

The question of merging individual (or organizational) decision-making with infrastructure design and management is supremely interesting, though not often engaged by the engineering community. For urban infrastructure, social systems are a key component of function. Individual decisions are influenced by personal views, interactions with peers, and larger social trends. This may not have a lot […]

Roots of Engineering in America: Military and Civilian Engineers

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in California, Cities, Engineering, Science and Technology, Water Resources Engineering

The tradition of engineering in the U.S. has deep roots in French, British, Dutch, and Italian innovation. The rise of a professional class of engineers begins, as with many technological innovations, in the military. Louis XIV in France was quick to recognize the value of having technical experts that could survey and assess land accurately, […]

Balancing System Health Across Environmental, Social, and Ecological Metrics

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Culture, Development, Environment

The American ethos has evolved to encompass a new kind of environmental consciousness. Current popular notions of environmentalism in the U.S. focus less on government responses to mitigate readily-observable pollution, and more on personal and collective actions that reconcile goals of economic growth and resource conservation. This is encompassed by the term sustainability, which has […]

Urban Infrastructure, Ecosystems, and Eco-technological Systems

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Environment, Public Policy, Science and Technology, Systems Engineering, Urban Ecology, Urban Informatics, Water Resources Engineering

Though exploding urban populations are indicative of the massive planetary changes humans are enacting, the process of urbanization has been a fundamental trend for centuries. Rapid urbanization in North American, European, and some Asian countries during periods of industrialization since 1860 necessitated a series of innovations in organization and infrastructure in order to facilitate transportation, […]

A Bit on Sociotechnical Systems

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Science and Technology, Systems Engineering, Water Resources Engineering

Science and Technology Studies (STS) research analyzes the relationship between technology and society through macro- and micro-level analysis of the development of technologies within larger social frameworks. Empirically-based analysis of technology development has sought tools, conceptual models, and terminology for descriptive purposes. The complex networks of people, institutions, laws, values, and technological artifacts are intertwined, […]

Urban Ecology Essays: Part 3

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Urban Ecology, Water Resources Engineering

Urban systems are shaped by both sociological and ecological factors, which can be referred to as a social-ecological system. Urban systems also influence both social and ecological characteristics of a city. This circular relationship is understood as a feedback loop, providing context to show interconnectedness amongst the possible influencing factors. Feedback loops are at the […]

Urban Ecology Essays: Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Urban Ecology

The hydrologic cycle within urban areas can be quite different from more natural areas, and surface water runoff is one of the most representative examples of this altered cycle. In urban and suburban areas, water from precipitation and irrigation moves through the topography must faster. Urban areas contain more impervious surface, including sidewalks, roads, and […]

Urban Ecology Essays: Part 1

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Urban Ecology

The term urban can be defined quantitatively using statistics or intuitively through observation. If defined using statistics, urban areas have higher population densities and more built infrastructure. Physical representations of this greater density become apparent on a walk through any city. Urban infrastructure, including roads, buildings, sidewalks, and bridges, are organized in recognizable patterns that […]

Overlays for the Day: D.C. Government Online

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Mashups, Urban Informatics

The D.C. Government has made significant strides in making a host of data sets available. This has resulted in a number of web-based applications related to all number of city services: parking, environmental services, biking, etc. Leveraging private developers is a great way for cities to build a repertoire of online applications. While current data […]