Cluster 9: Sustainable Civil Infrastructure: Engineering Needed for California’s Future

Instructors:Professor Joel Lanning, UCI, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Professor Garrett Struckhoff, CSU Fullerton, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Prerequisites: Algebra II/Trigonometry, Chemistry

Course Description:

Civil infrastructure is the backbone of society, yet its extent and importance is often overlooked.  While freeways and overpasses are a visible sign of progress, there is a vast and often unseen network of pipes, tunnels, sewers, and dams that collect, transport, clean, and manage California’s drinking water. This extensive and critically important network is currently in trouble: the 2017 American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Card shows that our drinking water and dam infrastructure receives a grade of D, while wastewater receives a slightly better score of a D+.

For the nearly 40 million people living in California, there is a growing need to improve our civil infrastructure as well as manage the impact that we have on the environment for the future sustainability of urban life. This is the current, critical task for Civil and Environmental Engineers, who design the systems, structures, and processes required to provide California’s residents with clean water while also mitigating our impact on the environment and managing limited water resources.

In this cluster, students will learn the fundamentals of civil engineering design and analysis with a focus on sustainability. Student design projects will involve conventional civil systems like the design of dams and aqueducts while incorporating the basics of static equilibrium (statics), fluid dynamics, and channel flow. Sustainability technologies designed to relieve our civil infrastructure will also be covered through projects including green-roofs for buildings, algal biofuels for vehicles, trash reduction for marine environments, and desalination for drinking water. Combining these conventional civil and innovative environmental concepts will give students a unique perspective on the modern challenges and exciting solutions in store for the future of our civil infrastructure.