Investing in tomorrow can prevent today’s tragedy
The tragedy of Surfside Champlainta in Florida is both a cautionary tale and an unfortunately familiar pattern. We see this pattern of happy ignorance in the United States’ refusal to invest resources in infrastructure and our unwillingness to face the painful scientific facts from COVID-19 to climate change. We are willing to enjoy the benefits of modern technology, but we are unwilling to pay for the costs caused by the negative effects of technology. Global travel has accelerated the spread of COVID-19. The same is true for the government’s reluctance to listen to early warnings from public health experts. Climate change is part of the cause of the Western heatwave, but most Republicans in our Congress refuse to invest in decarbonization.
The engineer and the board members of Champranta Apartments recognized the need for urgent repairs, but the residents would not or could not pay the additional costs for these repairs. Building a reinforced concrete tower by the sea is an incentive for corrosion. We have the technology to build these towers, but scientific facts tell us that they require regular maintenance and investment. In the era of extreme weather triggered by climate, government regulations that require inspections every forty years are seriously inadequate. If we do not learn from it, the terrible disaster in South Florida will inevitably repeat itself.
In New York City, we learned from the tragedy that happened more than 40 years ago that building inspections are needed.according to Stephen Varone, President of RAND Engineering:
“Although many construction industry professionals know [New York City] Little is known about the facade inspection method and the people who died tragically behind the scenes. That person was Grace Gold, a 17-year-old freshman at Barnard College, who was on Broadway and 115day street.Grace’s death led to the initial exterior wall inspection law, New York City’s Local Law No. 10 of 1980This requires that buildings with more than six floors be inspected by a qualified engineer or architect every five years for unsafe conditions on the street facade.The law was introduced in 1998 Local method 11This requires inspection of any facade higher than six floors, not just the facade facing the street. The revised law also stipulates that at least one street-facing facade must be inspected by scaffolding or other means of support (not just visually). ”
In this city, the exterior walls and elevators of large buildings are inspected every five years. The boiler is inspected every three years. When repairing the exterior walls, street sheds must be built to protect pedestrians. Yes, this increases the cost of living and working in New York. Florida is a less regulated state and it is much cheaper to live there. While Florida continues to grow, New York City is working to restore its lost population. In New York, we have learned the hard way to do our best to eliminate avoidable tragedies. From 9-11 to Hurricane Sandy, we learned that some tragedies are beyond our control. But after Hurricane Sandy, we waterproofed the tunnel, strengthened our energy system, and moved key building systems out of the basement of the coastline. After 9-11, we increased the New York Police Department’s counter-terrorism force to approximately one thousand. You make every effort to ensure that people are as safe as possible. This is the basic function of the government that cannot be simplified. No one likes to pay for public safety, but civilization needs it.
Whenever the tide is higher than normal, there will be flooding in Miami. But taxes in Florida are very low. The population density is also very low, and when New York City was hit by the COVID, Floridians could not understand why we were so willing to give up our freedom of movement and freedom of business. Florida has never shut down, and their infection rate seems to be lower than that of New York. Their governor does not allow companies to request vaccinations, and he has little interest in wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. To his followers, New Yorkers are simply alarmist, and Florida is a free country and home to the brave. Maybe, but New Yorkers are reacting to the facts before us.
We had a difficult year, but Boss returned to Broadway, and the Macy’s fireworks on July 4 returned. Because the public in New York was vaccinated with 70% of the vaccine, and through a lot of efforts, we reduced the infection rate and mortality rate. Nevertheless, it is regrettable that COVID has dealt a heavy blow to New York City before doctors learned how to treat it. As a result, our mortality rate is 276 per 100,000.In Florida, the death rate is 176 per 100,000 people. Maybe we have reason to be shocked, maybe Florida’s response to COVID is suitable for their environment. Science is not the only guide to public policy, but deliberate ignorance of scientific facts can and does lead to avoidable deaths.
The science of building aging is not difficult to understand. Although the virus is invisible and climate change is complex, the crumbling concrete is not, and it is “rusty.” Buildings are easily damaged by weather. Most homeowners know that the roof leaks, so it often needs to be repaired and replaced.
The high-tech world we have created is interconnected and vulnerable to multiple threats. We need to better measure and predict threats, and then invest in the people, systems, and infrastructure needed to stay safe. The situation on the Florida coastline is different from the situation in central Kansas. But every place has its own natural and man-made threats. Ignore them and hope that their departure will lead to tragedy. The rules governing our built environment should be reasonable, but should be aimed at reducing threats and avoiding disasters.
Government supervision also needs to cancel the investment decisions of some private groups, such as apartment committees. These boards are hobbyists and do not have the expertise to understand whether the engineering report is accurate or just a way of marketing engineering services. The government needs to audit these inspectors and must establish rules to ensure proper maintenance status. Government inspectors must be well trained and responsible. The ability of Surfside’s building inspectors was questioned. In order to manage private construction engineers, the government must have sufficient internal engineering capabilities to inspect their work. This extra capacity costs money. Some maintenance work should be ordered by the government. This will cost private parties and make people unhappy.
But there is no free lunch in the world. The bar may provide you with free food, but they will return it for the price of the drink. Across the United States, we have seen roads, bridges, power lines, and public transportation facilities fall into disrepair. Our entire country is in a divestment cycle, and we are more interested in buying large-screen TVs than paving the way. We are more willing to spend money on immediate gratification, and we begin to believe that others should pay for the maintenance of our collective goods.
The earth itself is the ultimate shared resource. We are destroying it and refusing to invest adequately in Earth observation and analysis. We need to better understand our ecosystem and assess the impact of human technology on natural and man-made environments. If we pretend that these problems do not exist, we cannot maintain our way of life.
The human disaster in South Florida is tragic beyond words. We try to understand meaningless things and try to find some meaning in the events that our God allows. President Biden’s visits to the families of these victims and his contacts with local officials demonstrated the importance of political and moral leadership, and reminded me of this passage from John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech:
“With conscience is our only reliable reward, let history be the final judge of our actions, let us lead the land we love, and ask for his blessing and help, but we must know that on earth, God’s work must It really belongs to us.”
Now is the time to end the political disguise and delusion. Our actions today can prevent the tragedy of tomorrow. If the Surfside Florida tragedy leads to actions to prevent future disasters, then these deaths will not be in vain.