Our guest bloggers are Leidy Klotz and Tripp Shealy, civil engineering faculty members at Clemson and Virginia Tech, respectively. They are collaborating with ISI on a research project related to Envision.
It’s comforting to think of ourselves and other professionals making long-term decisions for infrastructure as super-rational people. And in many ways we are. But most of us are also humans and therefore susceptible to some of the same decision-making quirks as everyone else.
That’s why we are thrilled to be partnering with ISI and Envision on a recently-awarded grant through the National Science Foundation’s interdisciplinary INSPIRE program. Basically, the grant is exploring how people like us (engineers, property owners, developers, public officials, and other decision-makers) choose to make infrastructure more or less sustainable.
In addition to Tripp and me, our team includes renowned behavioral scientists at Columbia University (Elke Weber and Eric Johnson), as well as a policy expert, Ruth Greenspan Bell. Tripp and I provide the infrastructure perspective, along with our ISI partners, and Elke, Eric, and Ruth bring in relevant insights from the behavioral sciences. The project appeals to them because decision biases and interventions have been studied mostly at the individual consumer level. Upstream decisions made in multi-stakeholder environments are largely unexplored, which is a critical omission in light of their potential impact. In other words, they recognize that providing more sustainable infrastructure is a massive societal challenge.
We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us in the next three years of the project. And we’re looking for industry partners to pilot different versions of the Envision rating system, share their own decision-making processes, and even help us uncover new research questions. If you’d like to get involved, please let us know! Contact Leidy Klotz or Tripp Shealy.