More stories about Ideas & Opinions

  • A lucky, albeit leaky, find

    In the 1870s, city engineer Major Charles Davis was called to investigate a typical public works complaint—the dreaded “basement backup problem.” We can all imagine what Davis faced when he showed up to investigate—a group of homeowners upset with water flooding into their basements, absolutely...

  • Do you have a Cindy?

    At the city where I used to work, there is a woman named Cindy who handles all the calls for the public works department, providing a front-line response to all requests and complaints. With her knowledge of city regulations and procedures, she is quickly able to determine the proper reaction to...

  • Designing the school zone

    School may be out for the summer, but I can't stop thinking about picking up my child, who attends the local public school.

  • Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to waste

    A Chinese proverb advises, “When you drink the water, remember the spring.” With an exploding global population placing ever-greater demands on a precious, finite resource, that maxim takes on a new urgency.

  • Front-seat traffic engineers

    While workers in the public sector easily can be the targets of criticism when something goes wrong, my greatest empathy goes to traffic engineers. I can't think of a profession more second-guessed by the public, because everyone who possesses a driver's license believes they are de facto traffic...

  • How to hire a construction management firm

    Most consulting firms today offer “construction management services.” However, the interpretation of construction management and the services it entails greatly varies. According to the Construction Management Association of America, “construction management is a professional service that applies...