Improving infrastructure service and access for communities
Dr. Kasey M. Faust is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research on sociotechnical systems (primarily water sector infrastructure) aims to improve access to basic necessities for underserved communities. Her work applies systems thinking approaches, enabled by mixed quantitative and qualitative methods, to not only explore the technical aspects of infrastructure but also the operating environment, human-infrastructure interactions and interdependencies, and institutional conditions that impact those systems. In so doing, her research integrates social and institutional factors constraining and shaping technical system performance. Much of her works especially focuses on extreme events—chronic (e.g., population decline, gentrification), protracted (e.g., refugee crisis, pandemic) and acute (e.g., disaster causing physical damage)—which shift the operating environments in ways that force infrastructure and utilities to operate far beyond design conditions.
Current studies within her research group include: assessing human-water sector infrastructure interdependencies in cities experiencing urban decline; understanding the consequences of disaster migration on the resilience of the built environment; incorporating equity into water infrastructure decision-making; exploring the impact of social distancing policies on the water infrastructure systems; understanding operations of water infrastructure in the Arctic amidst workforce constraints and climate change amongst Native Alaskan populations; sociotechnical modeling of infrastructure systems; exploring ethics and the consideration of societal consequences of engineering decisions in undergraduate engineering education; assessing the impact of public controversy on construction project performance; and modeling of public perceptions toward services received in varying communities.