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Integrating People and Policy

This focal area covers four main areas: equity, social context, risk perception and systems-scale adoption

This research examines how benefits and risks of natural infrastructure are not equally distributed between social groups (via racial and wealth inequality), and aims to create a set of guidelines for incorporating equity into the decision making process during natural infrastructure development. 

Systems scale adoption

This research delves into why some projects thrive at the systems-level, while others fail. It considers how communities can execute collective action to incorporate NI, and the enabling and restraining conditions that make collaboration easier or harder at the systems-scale. 

Risk Perception

This research will investigate how risk perception, tolerance, and acceptance permeate every aspect of planning, designing, and operating nature-based solutions (NBS). What does society expect from public infrastructure? Will designers adopt unfamiliar techniques? Who bears the liability of novel methods? 


This initiative strives to overcome barriers to natural infrastructure adoption through education. The network is well-positioned to accelerate and expand EWN implementation by influencing current practice through education as well as to shape a new generation of problem solvers. 

Engineering with empathy

The project seeks collaboration with interested Tribal communities in the development of methodologies for the co-production of natural infrastructure in water resource planning programs and projects in Indian Country. In collaboration with our Tribal partners we are seeking guidance on weaving Indigenous and engineering ontologies, knowledge, and ways of managing resources into Federal decision making.