The Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University (ZPH) and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) are proud to be hosting the Equitable and Sustainable Infrastructure / Delivering Merit and Climate Resilience conference on November 17 & 18, 2021.
This conference takes a 360-view of what it means to design, build, and implement infrastructure systems that deliver merit, by deconstructing the term, as well as defining and measuring “merit.”
Merit can be viewed through a series of lenses, including economic, social, environmental and climatic implications. Experts will share new perspectives on the factors that influence the way infrastructure is implemented. Since public policy and funding opportunities often shape the direction of the industry, infrastructure professionals must balance responding to both policy and stakeholder needs, all while securing adequate funding for projects to be successful.
Historically, infrastructure decisions have played a role in creating and amplifying the vulnerability of underserved populations. With climate change, those populations tend to be even more vulnerable to extreme weather. The mindset must now be shifted to correct historical injustices and use infrastructure to provide equitable services to all communities.
Participants in this conference will walk away with a better understanding of the broader landscape of the infrastructure industry today and will see new ideas for how infrastructure can better serve communities with merit.
Who should attend?
Wednesday, November 17
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
– 10:00 a.m. / Welcome and Opening Remarks
– 10:15 a.m. / Day One Keynote Speaker (to be announced) and moderated Q&A
Zoom registration link
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Zoom registration link Session 1
– 11:30 a.m. / Panel 1: Evolving Public Policy and Funding
– 12:30 p.m. / Panel 2: Local Examples of Implementing Policies and Securing Funding
The technical program opens with a discussion of the factors that shape infrastructure development. Speakers will discuss the needs of the “outside world” and how those needs can be met by infrastructure professionals, or the “inside world.” Speakers addressing public policy issues will touch on climate change, life cycle cost effectiveness in terms of post-pandemic recovery, and equity. Experts will shine a light on public sector funding in the form of stimulus and grants, as well as private sector funding. Examples of localized success stories will be shared.
1:45 p.m.– 2:45 p.m.
Zoom registration link awards ceremony
Join our special 1-hr webinar as we celebrate the recent achievements of the ISI and ZPH networks. Recent project award recipients will be invited to share highlights from their Envision projects.
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Zoom registration link Session 2
– 3:00 p.m. / Panel 1: Connecting Communities through Robust Stakeholder Engagement
– 4:00 p.m. / Panel 2: Results and Outcomes: Effective Stakeholder Engagement In Practice
Assessing stakeholder needs allows us to be better positioned to identify appropriate solutions, and this session puts a laser focus on best practices in stakeholder engagement. Always with an eye toward creating a two-way street of communication between stakeholders and infrastructure professionals, speakers in this session share perspectives from the asset owner, infrastructure users, and the “host” community. Special attention will be paid to engaging multiple public community groups in cases where stakeholders have been previously disconnected, and in cases where communities are working towards climate resilience. Additionally, lessons learned from the pandemic will be discussed in terms of how COVID has changed how we engage our stakeholders, and which new best practices are here to stay.
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Remo registration link Networking Session – Click “Save me a Spot!”
Register to attend this interactive networking session using the Remo platform. Participants will be able to engage with conference attendees through round table discussions.
Thursday, November 18
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Zoom registration link
— 10:00 a.m. / Welcome and opening remarks
— 10:15 a.m. / Keynote speaker (to be announced) and moderated Q&A
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Zoom registration link Session 3
— 11:30 a.m. / Panel 1: Who are the underserved and what is their infrastructure reality?
— 12:00 p.m. / Panel 2: How can infrastructure serve as connections to opportunities?
— 12:30 p.m. / Panel 3: How is the infrastructure community engaging with Envision to lift the underserved that are impacted by climate change?
— 1:00 p.m. / Moderated Q&A with all panelists
For generations, infrastructure projects have resulted in a mixture of impacts and benefits. Many of the impacts flowed to communities that struggle to access opportunities to improve their lives. In this session, we will shine light on the realities of infrastructure development including tradeoffs we have all faced as we strive to deliver solutions that serve the needs of the broadest communities. Panel 1 will focus on the practical realities of infrastructure development including ramifications of our decisions and how steps are being taken to be sure that the long-term interests of entire communities are adequately addressed. Panel 2 will examine how three generations of engineers view their evolving roles in infrastructure development and the challenges of gentrification verses connectivity that enables less advantaged people to access a range of opportunities that enhance their lives. Panel 3 will focus on specific examples of 21st Century Infrastructure projects engaged with the entire cross section of communities and delivering solutions that serve present and future generations in ways that lift all lives.
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Remo registration link Poster and Networking Session
Register to attend this interactive poster and networking session using the Remo platform. The poster session is an opportunity to share your work on sustainable infrastructure and engage with conference attendees. For more information and to submit a poster for consideration, please click here and complete the Google form.
3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Zoom registration link Session 4
– 3:00 p.m. / Panel 1: Designing for Merit
– 4:00 p.m. / Panel 2: Data, Technology, and Innovation that Deliver Merit
– 5:00 p.m. / Closing remarks
Throughout the virtual conference, external influence factors have been analyzed with respect to how they may inform infrastructure decisions. As a session intended to culminate the ideas and best-practices discussed throughout the virtual conference, the final session is forward thinking and showcases how infrastructure professionals can plan for and design systems that meet current demands. Speakers will define “merit” in the context of infrastructure design and spotlight technology and innovation that deliver merit.