Reimagining the future
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 177 countries. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society and stands at the forefront of a profession that plans, designs, constructs and operates society’s economic and social engine – the built environment – while protecting and restoring the natural environment.
Through the expertise of its active membership, ASCE is a leading provider of technical and professional conferences and continuing education and the world’s largest publisher of civil engineering content. It also serves as an authoritative source for codes and standards that protect the public, including those that help ensure our infrastructure’s resilience. The newly updated ASCE/SEI 7-22 Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criterial for Building and Other Structures is the latest iteration of ASCE’s most widely used building standard and an integral part of U.S. building codes for schools and commercial facilities.
The update features a new chapter on tornado provisions after a decade of collaboration between ASCE and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to strengthen the safety and resilience of buildings at risk of tornado impacts. The partnership was formed following the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado which caused 161 fatalities and more than 1,000 injuries.
In addition, every four years, ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure analyzes the condition and performance of American infrastructure and assigns letter grades based on physical conditions and needed investments for improvement.
The latest report card was released March 2021. It provided a cumulative grade of ‘C-‘ in 2021 and grades for 17 individual categories from roads and bridges to stormwater and dams. ASCE also issues state report cards.
ASCE has advocated for a stronger federal partnership on infrastructure priorities for decades and in November 2021, President Biden signed into law the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the largest infrastructure investment in our nation’s history. The legislation featured ASCE’s report card findings and codified almost four dozen of the Society’s recommendations for improving civil works systems in the US.
Since passage of the IIJA, ASCE has created a new online IIJA Implementation portal for its members including legislative analysis, a list of open grant applications, opportunities to weigh in on implementation and will soon include a schedule of upcoming funding distribution cycles.
The world in which we live is becoming more complex and changing at an accelerated pace. Our future will require a new way of doing things. A major focus of ASCE is looking to the future and offering tools so that civil engineers are in position to lead not just today, but five decades into the future.
ASCE has launched Mega City 2070, a desktop platform that explores the built environment of 2070. This immersive, interactive 3D model visualizes a plausible city and its evolution from 2020 to 2070. The initiative resulted from a multi-year collaboration between ASCE, global future analysts, subject matter experts, visionary experience designers and leading application developers.
Mega City 2070 is a thought-provoking learning tool to help engineers, planners and others think about the future and navigate the complexity of our changing world. The platform takes a holistic approach to connect the dots and ensure all systems are integrated in the future.
Growing population and advancing technologies will push civil engineers to reimagine the future. Mega City 2070 is designed to accommodate a population of 50 million people while preserving its historic character, promoting sustainability and supporting various lifestyles and economies.
Mega City 2070 is the latest initiative of Future World Vision: Infrastructure Reimagined which was unveiled in May, 2019. Future World Vision addresses six important sociopolitical, economic, environmental and technological macrotrends as key drivers of change for civil engineers and the built environment including alternative energy, autonomous vehicles, climate change, smart cities, high tech-construction/smart materials and policy and funding. To learn more, visit www.asce.org.