University-led Consortiums Receive Grants for Urban Sustainability Research

On the left, Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale, Arizona is an example of safe-to-fail resilient infrastructure that is the focus of the ASU UREx SRN. In contrast, the Los Angeles River, pictured right, is an example of fail-safe infrastructure. Indian Bend Wash image by Nancy Grimm, ASU;  Los Angeles River image by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On the left, Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale, Arizona is an example of safe-to-fail resilient infrastructure that is the focus of the ASU UREx SRN. In contrast, the Los Angeles River, pictured right, is an example of fail-safe infrastructure. Indian Bend Wash image by Nancy Grimm, ASU; Los Angeles River image by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Sustainability Research Networks Competition (SRN) has granted 5-year, $12 million awards to three separate research networks to conduct integrated research on urban sustainability.

One of the awards was given to the Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN), a consortium of 14 academic institutions and key partners nationwide. UWIN addresses challenges that threaten urban water systems in the U.S. and globally. Led by Colorado State University, UWIN’s vision is to create a research network for integrated water systems focusing on water-sensitive urban design and resilient cities.

Award funding also went to the Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather-Related Events Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN), which focuses on developing diverse methods and tools to assess how infrastructure can be more resilient. Arizona State University leads this research network, which includes 50 researchers from 15 institutions. With urban areas more vulnerable to urban flooding, coastal storms, regional droughts, and extreme heat waves, UREx SRN believes that flexible, adaptable, and safe-to-fail infrastructure can enhance urban resilience in the face of higher incidence of extreme events.

NSF funding also went to a consortium of cities, companies, and universities led by the University of Minnesota. The consortium’s project, Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities, will explore how the transformation from large centralized systems toward local or distributed infrastructure can create more environmentally-sustainable cities.

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