My background in infrastructure engineering and planning work across divergent urban community settings has been instrumental in cultivating my passion for urban infrastructure, especially for underserved populations. Growing up and working in San Francisco has given me direct insight into current urban infrastructure system problems.
Many municipalities face an urgency to integrate improvements for sustainability and resilience as climate changes become extreme, service demands exceed capacity, and failure risks increase. In addition to limited resources, long-term comprehensive infrastructure planning is often absent or fragmented across jurisdictional boundaries. I have seen many costly mistakes and practices in water system management from a lack of planning and coordination between different departments.
From where I was born in the Mission District to my first job following my undergraduate studies in the Bay View/Hunter’s Point Shipyard Districts in San Francisco, I experienced how the poorest communities also have the worst infrastructure. Working in the Presidio of San Francisco opened my eyes to the dramatic difference in resources and conditions between wealthy and poor neighborhoods as it relates to infrastructure development.
I was a key in-house utility engineering representative for the design of water and wastewater services at the Tunnel Tops, Battery Bluffs, and Quartermaster Reach Marsh projects in the Presidio of San Francisco. These projects were extraordinary experiences in quality design and robust community partnerships. In every circumstance, I adapted infrastructure improvements to the specific needs of each development.
My experiences with urban community infrastructure help me recognize how important it is to understand the differences between diverse urban neighborhoods to meet the unique infrastructure needs of each. I hope that advocacy and awareness will improve infrastructure for underserved urban areas.