Civic Dilemmas in Infrastructure

Infrastructure refers to the system of public works of a country, state, or region. While infrastructure refers to something physical, it is undergirded by civic actions—choices and decisions about what to invest in, where, and for whom. Students examined two of these persistent human problems—water and transportation—through “case studies” analyzing choices made historically and their implications for today.

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Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a translator operating between regular folks, governments, politicians, engineers, planners, designers, leaders, movements, artists, and corporations. His focus is on finding the best ways to solve persistent human problems.

Ibrahim has a long history working on environmental policy and has expertise in the public, private, and civic sectors on sustainability, technology, community engagement, sports, and new media. His work has influenced many realms of society while he served as the sustainability policy advisor to Mayor Bloomberg (including serving as Policy Advisor for the Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability) and as the Director of Community Affairs at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Part environmentalist and part community organizer, he is a former Outward Bound instructor, helped found the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment, and blended youth organizing and technology while at the Movement Strategy Center. He is on the Board of the International Living Futures Institute. Ibrahim’s unique message can be heard on Al Jazeera, FOX News and ABC News, and his writings can be found in many publications including The Washington Post,, the Muslim Observer, Thought,, and more.


Roosevelt House, NY
February 4, 2018


Ibrahim Abdul-Matin,
Public Speaker

In this Forum, Civic Fellows examines two of these persistent human problems—water and transportation—through "case studies" analyzing choices made historically and their implications for today. While New York is the nation’s largest municipal water supplier and delivers what has been called "the champagne of drinking water," New York’s subway system is now considered a failure, with centuries-old tunnels, crumbling track routes, and the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world. In small groups, Fellows grappled with current challenges facing both systems today and devised recommendations they would make to a civic decision maker.

Video of the conference