When civil engineers, architects and planners design buildings, roads, bridges, levees, dams, drainage canals and other structures, they use the principle of stationarity to decide how high, how strong, how wind resistant, this structure has to be to withstand a typical 50-year, 100-year, 500-year or 1,000-year event.

All construction balances on a line between built “strong enough” and “over-built too much” to keep the cost as low as possible. The stationarity principle has historically ensured that the structure will last for its planned life, which may be anywhere from 20 years to several hundred years.

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