April 19, 2013

Professor helps National Academies promote sustainable urban development

Posted: April 19, 2013
Sam Ariaratnam book
ASU engineering professor Samuel Ariaratnam is a leading expert in underground construction.
Photo by: Jessica Slater/ASU
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Arizona State University engineer Samuel Ariaratnam is among contributors to a new book published by the National Academies aimed at providing communities some of the best strategies for sustainable urban development.

Ariaratnam is a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the chair of the construction engineering program in the Del E. Webb School of Construction Programs.

He worked on material for three chapters in “Underground Engineering for Sustainable Urban Development.” The book was based on a study requested by the National Science Foundation and conducted by the National Research Council.

Underground construction is a rapidly expanding field, fueled by the growing needs of cities to replace aging infrastructure or build new infrastructure using methods that will increase the efficiency, resiliency and safety of such facilities and utility systems.

Building new infrastructure and related facilities underground “may be the most successful way to encourage or support the redirection of urban development into sustainable patterns,” The National Academies Press states in promoting the book.

Ariaratnam, a member of the National Academies’ Committee on Underground Engineering for Sustainable Development, says the book draws on expertise in broad range of areas – including construction industry leaders, academia and research leaders, urban planners and policy experts, fire prevention and public safety professionals, geotechnical engineers and psychologists.

Ariaratnam is a leading expert in the trenchless technology method of underground construction. He was named the 2012 Trenchless Technology Person of the Year by Trenchless Technology magazine, the leading North American publication in the field.

“I’m certain this book is going to have a big impact. It’s already gotten a lot of attention internationally,” he says. “Everyone is looking for better ways to build infrastructure, both the public sector and private sector.”

The National Academies is made up of four organizations, the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. They serve as advisers to government and public leaders.

The book can be downloaded free of charge on The National Academies Press website.

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