As the new year approaches, the predictions are in.
Brookings Metro asked their staff and senior fellows their predictions for the new year. For the nation’s infrastructure and built environment, 2021 felt like a year of extremes. Extreme weather events such as Hurricane Ida, western wildfires, and recently, the Kentucky tornados made the effects of climate change harder to ignore. Housing prices and rents rose precipitously, driven by strong demand, pandemic-related supply constraints, and policy choices. The digital divide persisted, separating children from school and workers from jobs.
But it was also a year of extreme change within policy circles. The landmark Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was a generational commitment from the federal government to respond to these challenges, and many cities and states stepped up to liberalize their zoning, build safer biking infrastructure, and create stronger pathways to infrastructure jobs.
As we get ready to start a new year, we asked Brookings Metro’s staff members and nonresident senior fellows what the most pressing built environment issues could be in 2022. Their responses demonstrate the significance of both the challenges as well as the opportunities to deliver change for people and the planet.