The Cost of Doing Nothing

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Science  21 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6054, pp. 289
DOI: 10.1126/science.1214039

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As the U.S. congress grapples for solutions to the economic crisis, it is critical to recognize that rebuilding and modernizing infrastructure will be a key driver of economic growth. Recent reports issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE),* the Urban Land Institute,† and Building America's Future‡ have described the deterioration of the nation's energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. This week, ASCE convenes its annual meeting, gathering international scientists, engineers, policy-makers, and educators to share sustainable solutions across a broad spectrum of concerns in the natural and built environment. Key among the discussions will be the role of scientists and engineers in developing effective public policy, helping to produce an infrastructure that incorporates new materials, technologies, and strategies to improve environmental and social well-being.