Climate Change Preparedness

Publicity Photo of Sue McNeil with Civil & Environmental Engineering

On September 23rd, 2016, Green Liaisons hosted UD’s Dr. Sue McNeil, ProfessorĀ of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Policy, and Administration. She presented to us on her research that examined the preparations being made by cities and regions for the impacts that climate change is likely to cause on infrastructure.

McNeil described the possible preparations for both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, particularly in regard to the impacts of increased precipitation and flooding on roads, bridges, and foundations. Cities are taking actions such as building further inland, accommodating for occasional flooding, and elevating infrastructure or building seawalls.

For her research, McNeil surveyed the Mid-Atlantic region to identify the progress of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in making these preparations. She determined that MPOs have difficulty identifying the need for these preparations until a “disaster” (e.g. Hurricane Sandy) occurs, but then once a disaster occurs, communities are so overwhelmed by recovery that they cannot think about future planning. McNeil identified a need for a combination of engineering adaptations and climate change mitigation to produce successful planning.

If you would like to hear McNeil’s entire talk, please check out the video here!

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