Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Designing for Climate Change

PostedJuly 15, 2013

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lead: Streams are the life blood of wetlands and woodlands. As we increasingly urbanize and develop near these areas, how should we lessen the impacts on nature?

Randy Atkins: If climate change happens, Glenn Moglen of Virginia Tech says flooding rains are likely to be more frequent, causing urban runoff problems in local streams. So, in new development, he says we shouldn’t build-in permanent runoff countermeasures that may prove inadequate in the future.

Glenn Moglen: Maybe you design for now but you design in such a way that you can switch out or retrofit your structure so that it evolves as the climate evolves.

Randy Atkins: But while Moglen thinks the engineering is doable, he says the expense is seldom factored in to city planning…and, even when it is, there’s almost never funding to research effectiveness.

Glenn Moglen: It just isn’t the number one concern. The concern is for the people who live on the landscape, not the health of the streams.