February 21, 2020

Rethinking the impacts of transport infrastructure - a holistic life cycle approach

Time

1:40pm - 3:00pm

Location

1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village

Speaker(s)

Shoshanna Saxe, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering. University of Toronto

Abstract

This presentation will discuss the holistic impacts of transportation infrastructure. As the skeletal structure of civil society, transportation infrastructure influences how we live, work and move; infrastructure is also a massive consumer of primary energy and materials. Transportation infrastructure have long life times, with impacts that are durable and persistent, adding complexity to impact assessment. The presentation will discuss how a holistic conceptualization of transport infrastructure can change our perceptions of value, about what should and shouldn’t be built, and the power of transport infrastructure to shape the future of cities. The presentation will draw on published and ongoing research in the Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Research Group (SUIRG) led by Dr. Saxe, including discussing the challenges of applying LCA at the infrastructure scale, the range of results in transport LCA depending on data source, and how to scale up from individual infrastructure projects to entire neighbourhoods and cities.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Shoshanna Saxe is an Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering. She investigates the relationship between the infrastructure we build and the society we create to identify opportunities – and pathways – to better align infrastructure provision with sustainability. Saxe is a former Action Canada fellow, she sits on Waterfront Toronto’s Capital Peer Review Panel and the board of the International Society for Industrial Ecology. She has been recognized by Clean 50 as one of Canada’s emerging environmental leaders and was awarded a 2019 Ontario Engineering Medal – Young Engineer. Her research and commentary have been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The BBC, NPR, The Toronto Star, and Wired, including “What We Really Need Are Good ‘Dumb’ Cities” (New York Times, July 2019).