Rebuilding Infrastructure

Ricardo Bayon wrote an article for the Ecosystem Marketplace this week making the completely sane point that we should rebuild ‘green’ infrastructure while we rebuild ‘grey’ infrastructure (the built environment).

Totally sensible, completely defensible.

I would also ask the next question. How do we develop a plan? Americans certainly have a huge list of built infrastructure needs – roads, bridges, utility systems – all reaching the end of their lifespan.

Less obvious, but just an important, is the need to rebuild/conserve/restore or natural infrastructure. One of the problems, however, with politically defending restoration of natural infrastructure, is the lack of a ‘database’ of what needs to be done. With bridges and roads, we have detailed data on existing conditions, rebuilding needs, and cost estimates. For natural infrastructure, there is no such list.

I was pleased to see in a report John Holdren (the White House Science Advisor) just sent to President Obama a call for such a system -they named it ECOINFORMA. Unfortunately, the description failed to take advantage of the jobs potential of such a project if it made use of regional/local information gatherers (biologist, engineers, etc.) It also needs to be less ‘coarse’ than they propose. But, all in all, a wonderful idea.

My compliments to Ricardo Bayon for starting the discussion. Perhaps we can bring others to the task.