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WSPs Denise Roth advocates for equity in infrastructure investment

WSP's Denise Roth advocates for equity in infrastructure investment

 August 24, 2021

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In an article for Fast Company, Denise Roth who is President of Advisory Services at WSP and a former administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, suggests that any infrastructure policy that doesn’t place equity at its center will fail to meet society’s future needs.

"For the last century at least, infrastructure in U.S. cities has been planned, designed, and built too often without consistent and meaningful regard for the impacts on vulnerable communities, historically people of color, particularly those living in poverty. As our highways, bridges, and walkways crumble, they expose a history of racial inequity unrecognized by most Americans. Until now," Denise explains.

Equity is critical to future infrastructure spending

Here are three reasons an equitable infrastructure is so critical:

  • Inequity lasts for generations
  • Privilege can make inequity visible
  • The cost of inequity is higher than the cost of equity

Equitable infrastructure considers the impact on humans

"Equitable infrastructure considers the short- and long-term impacts on human health and well-being, and takes shape based on input from all members of a community. Equitable infrastructure is, at its core, defined by the principle that everyone deserves a fair opportunity to thrive. Any effort that doesn’t prioritize the human impact at all levels can arguably be dismissed as discriminatory. And any infrastructure policy that doesn’t place equity at its center will fail to meet our society’s future needs," she adds.

"The bottom line: U.S. infrastructure is crumbling, dangerous, and inadequate to meet the needs of future generations. If fixed without examining road, bridge, electrification, and transportation systems through a lens of equity, it will continue to perpetuate disenfranchisement while ringing up prohibitive maintenance and repair costs. Rebuilding our infrastructure today is an opportunity to do it right this time—for everyone. Without equity, our infrastructure remains broken."

Read the full article from WSP's Denise Roth.

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