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Session Details

Resilient Infrastructure in the Age of the Anthropocene

10 November 2020

Webinar Format
Dialogue Session
Short Presentations, Extended Q & A

About Contributors

Roy Brooke, Executive Director, Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI)

Roy Brooke is the Executive Director of the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI). He served as Director of Sustainability for the City of Victoria between 2011-2013. Between 2003-2011 he worked for the World Health Organization, United Nations Environment Programme and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, based in Geneva, Switzerland, and later in Rwanda, where he was UNEP’s Environment Programme Coordinator. Prior to this Roy served as a political advisor to Canada’s Environment Minister.

Mikhail Chester, Director of the Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering, Arizona State University

Dr. Chester is the Director of the Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University where he maintains a research program focused on preparing infrastructure and their institutions for the challenges of the coming century. His work spans climate adaptation, disruptive technologies, innovative financing, transitions to agility and flexibility, and modernization of infrastructure management. He is broadly interested in how we need to change infrastructure governance, design, and education for the Anthropocene, an era marked by acceleration and uncertainty. He is co-lead of the Urban Resilience to Extremes research network composed of 19 institutions and 250 researchers across the Americas, focused on developing innovative infrastructure solutions for extreme events. He was awarded the American Society of Civil Engineer’s early career researcher Huber price in 2017.

Deborah Carlson, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law for the Green Communities Program

Deborah Carlson is a staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law for the Green Communities Program. She works with communities in British Columbia to support land and water management that maintains and restores healthy connections to nature, including ecosystem-based measures to adapt to climate change. The work involves understanding regulatory gaps and limitations in existing Canadian law, and supporting new approaches to policy and management at landscape scales with full recognition and respect for Indigenous laws and authority and constitutionally protected title and rights. Deborah has civil and common law degrees from McGill University and was called to the B.C. Bar in 1997.

David Bristow, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Victoria

David Bristow is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Victoria where he runs the Cities and Infrastructure Systems Lab ( and where is a member of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic, He teaches on infrastructure resilience and sustainability in civil engineering. His research concerns resilience and sustainability of infrastructure, buildings and cities through advancement and integration of theory and practice. He holds Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering (Toronto) and a Bachelor’s in Systems Design Engineering (Waterloo). He is a board member of the Sustainable Urban Systems section of ISIE.

Kristy McConnel, Planner, Mott MacDonald

Kristy McConnel is a Planner at Mott MacDonald. She is passionate about building sustainable communities through creativity and innovation and works on a diverse portfolio of international projects in transportation and sustainability and was recently awarded the Planning Institute of BCs award for Individual Achievement – Young Professional Leadership. Kristy holds a Master of Community and Regional Planning degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Conservation from the University of British Columbia, and a certified Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP).



This session will look at infrastructure through the lens of the multiple challenges and opportunities we currently face in an era of unprecedented change: from funding and asset management, governance of centralized grids, multihazard considerations in the Lower Mainland (flood and seismic risk reduction/resilience) and the collaboration and innovation required to foster resilient infrastructure through approaches such as decentralization and shoring up blue-green assets.

This session should appeal to anyone who has an interest in building resilience in Southwest BC: engineers, architects, planners, developers, builders, code officials, financiers, insurers, asset managers, critical infrastructure operators, etc. Those with interest in local economic development and building the green/restoration economy would also benefit from attending and contributing to this session. 

Discussion questions

  • How should we build, design, manage and govern infrastructure in the age of the anthropocene? 

  • What are the barriers and opportunities in financing natural assets like blue green infrastructure?

  • How can we change the incentives for owners and managers of CI to assess their risks and interdependencies such that they (and we) are managing systemic risks more effectively?



With Roy Brooke (Municipal Natural Assets Initiative-MNAI), Mikhail V Chester (School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University), Deb Carlson (West Coast Environmental Law), David Bristow (University of Victoria, Cities and Infrastructure Systems Lab), Moderated by Kristy McConnel (Mott MacDonald & PIBCs 2020 award winner for Young Professional Leadership)