Back to All Events

Boston Area Sustainability Group: Resilience & Our Built Environment

  • CIC Cambridge 1 Broadway, 5th floor, Venture Cafe Cambridge, MA, 02142 United States (map)

In the wake of an unprecedented season of concentrated and extreme environmental disasters – hurricanes, earthquakes, heat waves, drought, flooding and forest fires – one question looms large for millions of people: How on earth do we fix the systems we have or, in some cases, rebuild after these disasters?

Critical lifeline services like housing, energy, water, sanitation, waste treatment, transportation, and communication underpin our civil and economic needs. When collapse of these systems happens at scale (e.g. entire cities, states, nations), the instinct is naturally to want to get things back to normal as quickly as possible for those impacted. Doing things quickly does not traditionally lend itself to a high-quality outcome though, but if a longer-term solution means a slower recovery or greater cost, what is the choice?

Our guest speaker(s) will share select frameworks and strategies used by decision-makers to determine the resilience of the built environment around us and how it can either support or undermine our social and economic objectives. What have we learned from past experiences? How well is our current infrastructure designed to accommodate changes over time? What is the potential for emerging strategies, such as distributed energy services, water purification, solid waste treatment and other engineering innovations, to mitigate social and environmental disasters in the future?

 

Sarah Slaughter, Founder & Director, Built Environment Coalition

Dr. Sarah Slaughter is a recognized expert on resilience and sustainability for the built environment. She is the CEO and founder of the Built Environment Coalition, a research and education nonprofit (501c3) focused on community sustainability and resilience. She currently serves on the Green Building Advisory Committee (GBAC) to the U.S. General Services Administration on sustainable federal built facilities, and was recently a Visiting Lecturer in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning on resilient urban communities. Before the Coalition, she was the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) Associate Director for Buildings and Infrastructure, and co-founder and faculty head of the Sustainability Initiative in the MIT Sloan School of Management. Previously, she was founder and CEO of MOCA Systems, Inc., and, before she founded MOCA, she was a MIT professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and earlier, was a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lehigh University.

Dr. Slaughter is currently a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Construction. She was previously on the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE), several Boards and committees for the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and other national and international advisory committees. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Charles River Watershed Association. She received her PhD, SM, and SB from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Andrea Atkinson, Executive Director, One Square World

Andrea Atkinson is a Latinx regenerative development professional working at the intersection of sustainability and social justice. She is Executive Director of One Square World, an innovator in the community development and social impact space. One Square World is a non-profit organization supporting the creation of just and sustainable communities by activating collaborative community conversations and action. 1SW brings together groups of people to strategize with communities of all types to align around values and goals centered in equity and sustainability.

Andrea’s global experience extends from the US, to Haiti, to Bolivia and beyond. She has facilitated diverse constituents in conversations, education and action around social, economic and environmental issues facing communities at the local and global scale. Andrea’s specific expertise is in facilitation, project management, racial equity, strategy and sustainable community development.

Andrea’s innovative community engagement and project management work for projects and clients such as the City of Providence, the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, Groundwork Rhode Island, Barr Foundation, Boston Foundation, Elevate Destinations, NEXUS Green Building Resource Center, Down2Earth Boston and the Skees Family Foundation has resulted in high-impact outcomes for environmental and social change.

Andrea grew up in Brazil, Bolivia, and Niger and speaks Spanish, Portuguese and some Haitian Kreyol. She has a degree in International Relations with a focus on sustainable development from Boston University and a graduate certificate in environmental management from Tufts University. Andrea is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

 

Dr. S. Atyia Martin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Boston

Dr. Atyia Martin is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) with a diverse set of experiences in public health, emergency management, intelligence, and homeland security. Mayor Martin J. Walsh appointed her as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston as part of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for leading the development and implementation of Boston’s Resilience Strategy. Boston will focus on advancing racial equity as the foundation of the Resilience Strategy process to increase our shared ability to thrive after emergencies.

Dr. Martin was previously the Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Public Health Commission. Her previous professional experience includes the Boston Police Department’s Boston Regional Intelligence Center; City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management; the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); and active duty Air Force assigned to the National Security Agency. Dr. Martin has also been adjunct faculty in the Master of Homeland Security at Northeastern University. Dr. Martin and her husband were born and raised in Boston where they currently live. They have five children.