Current Event

Resilience & Our Built Environment| November 7, 2017 |
6:00-8:30 PM | CIC Venture Cafe | One Broadway, Cambridge, MA

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About the Event

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?

Meet Our Speakers

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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.

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Andrea Atkinson, Executive Director, One Square World

Andrea is a Executive Director of One Square World, a nonprofit dedicated to community-powered sustainable development worldwide. Andrea is a sustainability professional with a background in international relations, organizational management and sustainable community development. Andrea’s innovative community engagement and project management work for projects such as My Job Stories (a project of the Skees Family Foundation), NEXUS Green Building Resource Center, Down2Earth Boston, Elevate Destinations Haiti Volunteer Trips and philanthropic education programs has resulted in high-impact and high-profile outcomes for environmental and social change.

In the New England area, Andrea is creating a network of practitioners for regenerative development to provide a framework that benefits communities and the environment.  In 2007, Andrea launched the NEXUS Green Building Resource Center, a first of its kind community center in the Northeast to promote and educate stakeholders implementing green building measures. Her work with New England Sustainable Energy Association resulted in a peer-to-peer educational network for energy efficiency providers and consumers in Massachusetts.

Andrea grew up in Brazil, Bolivia, and Niger and has traveled extensively. She has a degree in International Relations with a focus on sustainable development in Latin America and Africa from Boston University and a graduate certificate in environmental management from Tufts University.


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.