Sustainable Infrastructure and Cities
Estimates indicate that by 2050, three billion more people will live in cities, resulting in two-thirds of the world’s population inhabiting urban areas. A majority of the future infrastructure required to accommodate that growth has yet to be built, or will need to be rehabilitated from existing systems.
With business-as-usual trajectories, such growth will continue to exert tremendous pressure on water, energy, and land resources, creating traffic congestion, air pollution, and urban inequity that already affects the health of millions of urban residents today.
This initiative explores how the design of new technologies and policies in seven key infrastructure sectors—energy supply, water supply, waste management, transportation, buildings, green spaces and food supply—can enhance the environmental sustainability, health and livability of our cities, today and in the future. Our team of interdisciplinary scholars and students is drawn from several colleges and disciplines at the University of Minnesota and a network of other universities.
Research and Projects
- Research Coordination Network on Sustainable Cities (RCN) ($750,000), sponsored by US National Science Foundation
- Developing Low-Carbon and Sustainable Cities in the US, China, and India, through interdisciplinary integration (PIRE: Partnership for International Research and Education) ($4.5M), sponsored by US National Science Foundation
- Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities (SRN: Sustainability Research Network) ($12M), sponsored by US National Science Foundation
- Resource Implications for Future Urbanization, with the United Nations International Resource Panel
Publications and Policy Engagement
- Principles for Developing Smart, Sustainable, and Healthy Cities, Science
- What Environmental Policies Best Preserve the Taj Mahal? Environmental Research Letters
- Measuring How Trash Burning is Adding to Delhi’s Air Pollution, Environmental Science and Technology; news coverage in the Wall Street Journal, Times of India
- Technical advisor to ICLEI-USA Community Greenhouse Gas Protocol
- Lead author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, chapter on human settlements
- Building Sustainable Infrastructure in Fast-Growing Cities of the Developing World, Journal of Infrastructure Systems
- How Best to Measure the Environmental Sustainability of Cities, New York Times