Expert engineer Thu-Loan Dinh wants to make sure New York City is prepared for any future storms.
Dinh joined the New York City Department of Design and Construction in March as the assistant commissioner of facilities style. She has prior experience leading the company’s Coastal Resiliency Program’s fashion department.
The following has actually been modified for brevity and clearness.
BUILDING DIVE: What are the biggest problems with New York City’s strength? What role will the DDC’s green buildings and cloudburst security initiatives play in finding solutions?
The municipality wants to make sure it’s ready for any future storms. We’re putting up infrastructure to help communities in vulnerable coastal areas recover more quickly and stay safe.
The localised status quo, including the size of storm and sewage system drains pipes, soil quality, social and financial conditions of the neighbourhood, etc., will be evaluated by our green facilities and cloudburst programmes, and a focused approach will be taken to improve the area.
More than 120 capital projects, totaling around $4 billion, are under your care. In your new position, what have you been working on that you’re particularly proud of?
To my great fortune, I have had the opportunity to discuss the development of New York City with a number of influential individuals who share my goals. The part of my new job that I’m most looking forward to is working with my teammates to advertise buildings that push the boundaries of long-term, sustainable, environmentally conscious construction.
There is no way that one profession can solve all of New York City’s problems, so I’m looking forward to finding ways to tailor my work to the unique needs of the city’s residents while also helping us combat the effects of climate change. During the planning and construction phases, NEW YORK CITY DDC is actively involved in a comprehensive community involvement programme. It is my intention to carry this momentum into my next role.
How has the federal Infrastructure Investment and Job Creation Act helped New York City’s Department of Design and Construction? How, if so.
We build for over 25 different federal agencies, and we anticipate that many of them will receive IIJA finance, which will add to our business. To make the most of that money and put it to good use, we have started a programme of capital procedural changes with Mayor Adams’ help.
Where do you anticipate trends emerging in environmentally friendly buildings? In what fields do you see growth potential in the next several years?
More and more of our roadway projects are beginning to incorporate environmentally friendly design elements including rain gardens, seepage basins, green roofs, and permeable pavers. This demonstrates New York’s commitment to restoring sustainable and resilient capabilities in all facility work. Projects that suggest inventive facilities that may also pave the way for greater and more efficient exploitation of our resources here in New York City are what I look forward to seeing the most.
Protecting populations most at risk during extreme weather requires professionals and engineers to weigh the whole cost of protection against any potential return on investment. New York City is investing in infrastructure that will help it recover from the next Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Ida while also promoting long-term sustainability.
Tell me about the most enjoyable challenge you’ve ever faced and the lessons you learned.
The East Side Coastal Resiliency work is where I see myself most useful.To better serve residents in the East 25th to Montgomery Street area of Manhattan, the city was able to push the limits of the project’s facilities objectives and collaborate with our partner companies to identify vulnerable existing functions and improve our subsurface network and public open areas.
ESCR is a sophisticated flood barrier project that involves building both underground and aboveground structures in a dense urban area. Major project benefits and goals include lowering flood risks, increasing accessibility, and bettering public spaces.
What I’ve learned is that New York City will use difficult projects like ESCR as a model for future endeavours. The design and construction must be adaptable to creative solutions while bringing the focus back to the project’s goals and benefits.