On modeling

The Atlantic’s City Lab blog posted an interview with Josef Konvitz and his comments on modeling and forecasting stuck out to me —

Great projects have dynamic effects, precipitating changes throughout urban regions that are all but impossible to model in advance because no one can anticipate their impact. Projects are often sold on the basis of the number of construction jobs or new housing starts that will follow. This narrow approach to cost-benefit analysis would have led the Victorians to conclude that a major sewer system for London was too expensive. By the same token, bridges and tunnels linking New York and New Jersey would never have been built a century ago. The test of good infrastructure is whether it makes best use of the density, size, and complexity of cities.

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On resilient cities

The Atlantic’s City Lab blog posted a conversation with The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative President Michael Berkowitz, and this bit caught my attention —

There’s a difference between resilient infrastructure and infrastructure that builds resilience. Resilient infrastructure is the bridge that doesn’t fall down in the flood. Infrastructure that builds resilience is the piece of infrastructure that promotes transportation or integration, that builds the fabric of the city in the strongest possible way. We’re going to get better at building and valuing resilient infrastructure. You can take your 50- or 100-year risk scenarios and say, does this or doesn’t this meet those standards. That’s an engineering question. …

One of the things we’ve found both in the developed and the developing regions is  that cities, just generally as a rule, are basically fighting fire day in and day out. What a chief resilience officer has is the luxury to think more strategically about some of the wicked problems that they face and set a new course. It’s outside of that fire-fighting ecosystem.