Lessons from Flint’s Water Crisis: An Interview with Steve Friess

Steve Friess | Van Alen Institute

Previously published in Van Alen Report 19: America's Infrastructure. Van Alen Report is an interdisciplinary digest published semiannually by Van Alen Institute that gathers expert perspectives on subjects that are redefining society’s relationship to cities and the built environment. Van Alen Report 19 offers a sweeping exploration of how leaders may repair U.S. infrastructure in ways that support better and more just outcomes for all.

Every day in America there are citizens whose faucets flow with contaminated drinking water. Nowhere was this more visible than Flint, Michigan, where the late response of public officials to signs of wide-spread lead poisoning left many residents severely ill and deeply distrustful of city and state government. The Flint Water Crisis is a reminder that, along with materials, labor, and financing, trust is an essential component to the design and implementation of infrastructure. For lessons learned from this crisis we turned to two sources. First, we interviewed Steve Friess, journalist and author of “For All They Know,” a case study on the crisis that shows how challenging life has become in Flint and how difficult it has been for officials to establish a sense of water security. Secondly, to illuminate the larger problem of contaminated water in America, we turned to the National Resources Defense Council, which has worked to illustrate the scope of lead and copper contamination nationwide and offer recommendations going forward for Flint and the rest of the nation.

Title Photo from “Greetings from Flint — Chapter 1” by COlabs + INDECLINE.
Full content is available only for registered users. Please login or Register