Wood and 100RC: Partnership Leading to Innovation

As employees of Wood, we take pride in how the company strives to find new and innovative ways to serve our customers and influence the market to create a more sustainable, resilient world. As a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services, our work in cities depends on our company’s ability to design, build and operate projects that can withstand 21st-Century shocks and stresses. As those challenges and disruptions grow more diverse and uncertain, it is imperative that we make resilience planning a priority for our customers and the communities in which we work.

Becoming a 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) Platform Partner was a strategic imperative for Wood – a deliberate move toward working with cities pioneering the resilience movement and market. As 100RC celebrates its 5th anniversary, this is an opportune moment to reflect on how this important partnership has made our work more creative and efficient.

Our creation of a Clean Soil Bank dashboard in New York City, a 100RC Network member, is just one example. The price of transporting soil to and from New York – from carbon emissions, traffic congestion, and pedestrian safety – has always been steep. As the city continues to grow, the redevelopment of brownfield sites has produced an interesting finding: the soil underneath the first layer of urban fill is clean and usable. Our team worked with New York City Chief Resilience Officer Dan Zarrilli and his team to create a database of this recyclable local soil. The database has become an important resource for developers, many of whom have used it to build projects that make the city more resilient to climate impacts. It’s the kind of multi-benefit project our customers are looking for – and we made it happen because 100RC gave us the platform to try something new that led to innovation scalable to other markets and customers.

In Paris, we created a flood expansion zone and re-naturalization index for vulnerable neighborhoods along the Seine River. We started by identifying future flooding zones and aligned that with green spaces with the capacity to mitigate floods. Working with the local government, we created an index of those spaces by measuring socio-economic vulnerability, soil permeability, slope, and flood storage potential. This index, which we housed in an online data portal, helped Paris re-think the way it approached flood mitigation. It also created a model for use in other places. For example, we took a similar approach in the United Kingdom, and delivered an entirely new service for our customers there. Our experiences have also resulted in a contract with the City of Miami Beach to support stormwater resilience.

These projects are just part of a burgeoning market for resilience consistent with the 100RC mission. Wood’s climate resilience and sustainability business directly contributed to over $5 million in resilience-related customer work in 2017 and has been a catalyst to drive collaboration and innovation. We’ve applied best practices from this work across our scope of business, such as our transportation resilience work in Toronto, and to cities beyond the network, such as a city sustainability and resilience project in St. Augustine, Florida.

As the market for resilience projects continues to develop, we expect our partnership with 100RC to produce additional innovations and insights. Our longstanding partnership with 100RC has reshaped our business offerings, fostered collaboration with other public and private sector members within the network Platform Partners, and, more importantly, has benefited and advanced our work with cities and the citizens who live there.