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Issue 8.1

The Post-Pandemic Climate

Pandemics have the effect of accelerating humanity into the future, forcing us to confront unaddressed inequities while propelling us to change how we live and learn.1 The mid-nineteenth-century cholera pandemic in the US offered an example. That event exposed the extent of the inadequate water and sanitation infrastructure in cities, especially in poorer urban neighborhoods, and it led to the widespread adoption of indoor plumbing, sanitary sewers, and water utilities beginning in the second half of the century. That, in turn, enabled the growth of industrial cities and larger buildings and the emergence of America’s land-grant universities, focusing on the “mechanical arts” like civil engineering.

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