Jim Blackburn will discuss the implications of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey in the context of resilience, public safety and the responsibility of the engineering community. Our 20th century laws, regulations and engineering practices are no match for 21st weather patterns. Harvey clearly shows the need for major revisions in thinking, practices and regulations, not only in Texas but throughout the United States as we attempt to offer a reasonable degree of protection to the affected public.
Jim Blackburn has been a practicing environmental lawyer and planner since 1973. He is a Professor in the Practice in Environmental Law in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rice University, where he teaches courses in sustainable design and advanced sustainable design and is the Director of the Undergraduate Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability. Blackburn is the Co-Director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center at Rice. He is also a Rice Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute and is the owner of a planning firm called Sustainable Planning and Design. Blackburn authored The Book of Texas Bays, published in 2004 by Texas A&M Press, and he has written a new book, A Texan Plan for the Texas Coast, published by Texas A&M Press in September 2017. In 2009 he published a book of poems and paintings with his co-author, artist Isabelle Chapman, titled Birds: A Book of Verse and Vision. He has also authored numerous legal papers and has received several local, state and national awards for environmental advocacy.