UNECE Nominates ISI’s Melissa Peneycad to Co-Chair Team of Experts Working on Infrastructure Tool

The current medical and economic emergency has sharply questioned the preparedness of our infrastructure to provide acute healthcare and other critical services. Could it have helped, if Governments, the private sector and civil society had at their disposal a tool to determine if they are resilient enough for such immense challenges?

UNECE’s work to develop an evaluation methodology to score infrastructure projects against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a first step in this direction. At a virtual meeting on 23 March 2020, the UNECE Project Team, established in January 2020, unanimously agreed to integrate most robust resilience criteria into the People-first Project Impact Assessment Tool that is being developed.

This new UNECE tool will make it possible to evaluate and test the quality of infrastructure and public services including Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). Once the international community emerges from the current crisis, Governments will be able to use it to assess the resilience of their new infrastructure projects – and thus “build back stronger”.

The UNECE-led international Project Team consists of over 100 experts from public and private sectors, academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They work in five sub teams to define benchmarks or evaluation criteria and a scoring system for People-first outcomes. These are: access and equity; economic effectiveness; environmental sustainability and resilience; replicability; and stakeholder engagement.


Ms. Melissa Peneycad, Managing Director of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure based in Toronto (Canada), one of the three co-chairs of the team, stressed that “this People-first Project Impact Assessment Tool can set a unique standard for all interested stakeholders and will be a great contribution to the SDGs by incentivizing stakeholders to improve projects”.


She leads the Project Team together with two further co-chairs: Mr. James Stewart, Vice Chair of KPMG, and Mr. Joan Enric Ricart, Chairman of the Strategic Management Department, IESE Business School based in Barcelona (Spain).

After finalising its work on benchmarking and scoring, the Project Team will develop an implementation system aimed at providing a cost-free mechanism by which Governments receive a ‘score’ for their projects. This work is being carried out in cooperation with the Geneva-based Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation.

The experts’ work on the evaluation methodology and implementation system is undertaken as part of UNECE’s ‘People-first’ approach to PPPs, advocated by UNECE and its member States to make the PPP model fit for purpose for the SDGs. The intergovernmental body overseeing this work is UNECE’s Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships, convening representatives of UNECE’s 56 member States.

For further information, please visit the following page: wiki.unece.org/display/pppp/Impact+Assessment+Tool

You can also view the UNECE original press release on their website by clicking here.

Virtual Workshop

ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University are excited to announce that registration is now open for our virtual workshop.

The virtual workshop will be hosted on March 23 – March 24 over the course of four 2-hour webinars. You are welcome to join us for all four webinars or pick-and-choose the topics that suit your interests and schedule.

We ask that you register for each webinar you wish to attend. We’re happy to provide complimentary registration for this exciting event. Upon registration, you will receive a Zoom confirmation with a calendar invitation to hold the time. To register, use the links from the schedule of events below.

Agenda – all times shown in Eastern Daylight Time

Day 1: Monday, March 23, 2020

Morning webinar: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Afternoon webinar: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Morning Webinar Presented by Autocase


Webinar 1: Making the Case for Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure

Moderator: John Williams

REGISTER for Webinar 1

ZPH and ISI Present – The Envision Playbook: Inspiring Expanded Implementation of Sustainable Infrastructure


Webinar 2: Committing to Sustainable Infrastructure

Moderator: Prof. Spiro Pollalis

REGISTER for Webinar 2



Session A: Pledges Towards Sustainable Infrastructure

Session B: Who Asks for Sustainable Infrastructure?

Day 2: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Morning webinar: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Afternoon webinar: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

ZPH and ISI Present – The Envision Playbook: Inspiring Expanded Implementation of Sustainable Infrastructure (continued)


Webinar 3: Planning for Sustainable Infrastructure

Moderator: Anthony Kane

REGISTER for Webinar 3



Session C: Driving Change with Policies Shaped by Envision

Session D: Sustainable City Planning and Programmatic Approaches to Sustainable Projects


Webinar 4: Sector Support for Implementing Sustainable Infrastructure

Moderator: Lindsey Geiger

REGISTER for Webinar 4



Session E: Using Envision to Bolster Education and Training

Session F: Beyond the Bottom Line: Accounting for the Economy of Sustainable Infrastructure

Albion Riverside Park Project Earns Envision Gold Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 12, 2020 – The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced today that the Albion Riverside Park, located in Los Angeles, California, is the recent recipient of the Envision® Gold award for sustainable infrastructure. To earn Envision Gold, a project must demonstrate that it delivers a heightened range of environmental, social, and economic benefits to the host and affected communities.  

The Albion Riverside Park is a 10.6-acre site located adjacent to the Los Angeles River in the neighborhood of Lincoln Heights. For this project, 6 acres of land adjacent to the original park were acquired, having been previously used for industrial purposes such as ice cream manufacturing, dairy storage and distribution, metal pipe manufacturing, brewery operations, and automotive repair. After decades of industrial use, the soil on the expansion site was significantly contaminated. The contaminated soil was removed and remediated to make the site safe for public use.  

The overall goal of the Albion Riverside Park project was to increase and enhance open space and recreational opportunities along the Los Angeles River, and implement stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) that improve the water quality of stormwater runoff. The above-ground improvements result in an expanded park facility that better serves the local community, and adds to the LA River experience in Lincoln Heights.  

The Albion Riverside Park project is one of several “Proposition O” projects in the city of Los Angeles. Proposition O, which was passed in 2004 with overwhelming public support, authorized the City to fund projects up to $500 million, which are designed to prevent and remove pollutants from regional waterways and the ocean, consequently protecting public safety and meeting Federal Clean Water Act regulations. This project’s park elements are also funded through Proposition 84 (the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006) and Proposition K, the LA for Kids Program, a program designed to combat the inadequacies and decay of youth infrastructure throughout the City, as well as other funding from the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP).  

“Every community deserves places that people can go for healthy recreation and to connect with the natural world,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The Albion Riverside Park is another milestone in our revitalization of the L.A. River — and I’m proud to have authored Proposition O so we can purchase properties like this and deliver projects that protect our river and improve our water supply.”  

The Albion Riverside Park project is part of the LA River Revitalization Master PlanRiver Improvement Overlay and the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Site Plan. It accomplishes several goals and meets the needs of the community by: 

  • Improving water quality by significantly decreasing pollutant loads 
  • Creating and improving local park resources and visual linkages to the Los Angeles River 
  • Improving climate change adaptability 
  • Protecting and replenishing natural resources 
  • Reducing the risk of flooding during periods of high precipitation 

“Turning a vacant, previously contaminated parcel of land into a public resource—all while protecting local water resources and reducing pollution—is a significant boon for the Lincoln Heights community and the city of Los Angeles more broadly, said Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s Managing Director. ISI is pleased to present the Envision Gold award for sustainable infrastructure to the city of Los Angeles and its project partners for the Albion Riverside Park project.”  

“The Albion Riverside Park is part of the LA River Revitalization Master Plan, and part of our larger vision to expand recreational and green space in the First Council District,” stated Councilmember Cedillo. “The communities in CD1 have been cut off from the LA River for too long. Albion Park, and eventually G2, will provide our neighborhoods direct access to the river while improving water quality.”  

“The Bureau of Engineering is committed to delivering sustainable and multi-benefit projects,” said City Engineer and ISI Boardmember Gary Lee Moore, PE, ENV SP. “Albion Riverside Park is an excellent example of the work we are doing to bring recreation and open space to neighborhoods that desperately need park space, increasing stormwater capture, and improving water quality.” 

The Envision sustainable infrastructure framework assesses project sustainability across five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Resilience. These key areas contribute to positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community during the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure projects.    

As project and construction manager, the city of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering partnered with the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Bureau of Sanitation. They also worked closely with their design consultant TetraTech and their contractor Sully-Miller.