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2011 SG: Research Roadmap for Urban Sustainability


Urban areas are complex, adaptive, emergent systems composed of sub-systems—built environment, metabolic flows, governance networks, and social dynamics—that themselves are multi-scalar, networked, and often strongly coupled. Fostering sustainability in urban centers necessitates an understanding of how these subsystems interact and evolve so that they may be reengineered and redesigned to meet the needs of both nature and society. The PIs seek SNRE funds to co-develop a focused and fundable medium-term (5-year) interdisciplinary research roadmap in the domain of urban sustainability. This project is divided into three interrelated components:

1) Develop and refine a holistic, integrated conceptual framework that can serve as a platform for simulating interactions and deploying experiments of coupled complex human, natural, and engineering systems in urban settings. We envision being able to consider this adaptive framework through scenarios of changing condition, such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, resource dematerialization, and localization;

2) Develop three collaborative NSF proposals, each of which explore and test some interrelationship within this dynamic conceptual model;

3) Gather geographic and engineering base data on the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which will serve as a test-bed for the proposed NSF projects as well as for future proposals to Michigan-based foundations (e.g. Kresge, C.S. Mott).

University of Michigan - School of Natural Resources & Environment
Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment