Erik Porse, PhD

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Resilience in Engineered, Natural, and Water Systems


The term resilience emerged in ecology during the early 1970s. At the time, researchers were debating the existence of equilibrium points in ecosystems. Equillibriums were considered stable configurations of species that an ecosystem could “evolve” (or succeed) to reach. Beyond that, little change would occur. Ecology literature accepted the existence of such system-wide, globally-stable states (Lewontin 1969). In this view of […]

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Sewers in Cinema

I was prepping for an upcoming lecture on urban water systems that was sure to benefit from some lively video interventions. Cinema scenes related to sewers soon bubbled to the surface. Sewers have been a fantastic backdrop for dramatic cinema for decades. Many very memorable movie scenes take place in sewers. Sewers today rarely capture […]

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Big Dreams and Bountiful Capital: Western U.S. Expansion

The settlement of the American West in the mid-nineteenth century saw streams of Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Central and South Americans converge on the region and its resources. The new peoples brought their views of agriculture, exploitation, and wealth to the strange ecosystems of the West. For East Coast Americans and Europeans, who were accustomed […]

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Midwest Floods and Dutch Dams

Below is a not-so-short piece in a bit of an academic style inspired in part by the recent flooding in the Midwestern U.S., but also in part by some random reads that have actually tied together into a coherent picture. Just warning ahead of time, so you don’t think it is one of my fluff […]

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