Toward Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems in the Anthropocene
Sam Markolf, Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at UC Merced
Dr. Samuel Markolf is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California-Merced, where his research broadly focuses on applying systems-thinking to sustainability and resilience challenges facing cities and infrastructure systems. Prior to joining UC Merced, he was an Assistant Research Professor at Arizona State University and a Research Fellow within the NSF-sponsored Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN).
The Anthropocene informally referred to as the ‘Age of Humans’, is not only characterized by humankind’s outsized influence on ecological and planetary systems, but also pervasive and accelerating climatic, technological, social, economic, and institutional change that appears to be positioned as critical drivers of our future infrastructure and urban systems. This talk will discuss an evolving portfolio of work that outlines and analyzes some of the key issues, implications, and dynamics between infrastructure systems and emergent properties of the Anthropocene. Topics of focus include climate change and climate nonstationarity, interdependencies between infrastructure systems, complex interconnections between infrastructure and broader social-ecological systems, and opportunities/challenges for applying artificial intelligence in this context. Ultimately, it is posited that these (and other) emergent properties of the Anthropocene warrant consideration in the design, implementation, and management of infrastructure systems if broader sustainability and resilience objectives are to be met.