The National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network, studies the food, energy, and water nexus for sustainable and resilient urban development. Through science, engineering tools and principles, stakeholder engagement, and utilizing the City-as-Lab concept, the RCN looks to provide scientific advancements that contribute to a healthy, prosperous, equitable, sustainable, and resilient urban future, with particular consideration on the effects of population growth, urbanization, aging infrastructure, and weather extremes.
The RCN will be managed by a team of five principal investigators, coordinating a network of academic and nonacademic institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
The RCN's academic consortium will be joined by city agency, nongovernmental and other partners representing industry and community stakeholders, united to address technological, social, and economic attributes of the urban FEW infrastructure of the future.
Strategy focusing on:
- Visioning of an integrated FEW infrastructures for sustainable urban development
- Modeling framework for urban FEW Nexus
- Establishing effective community engagement approaches
- Enriching data availability for model validation
- Validating models with stakeholders input
The City as Lab develops:
- Research directions for the areas where current knowledge gaps exist
- Consensus on a framework for integrated urban FEW infrastructure research
- A networking consortium to deepen existing early-stage collaborations
- A dynamic education program for students with diverse backgrounds
- Expansion of the network and evaluate the success of the network activities.
The RCN will launch a multidisciplinary consortium to advance knowledge and insights on the following:
- Multiscale approaches to modeling urban systems' development and operations, ranging from high fidelity (spatially and temporally resolved) to aggregated models
- Modeling framework capable of capturing current and future system dynamics to simulate the impacts of land use, extreme weather, and decentralization to urban FEW supply infrastructure, so as to ensure adequate FEW distribution and storage capacity
- Enhancing sensing and controls for monitoring, analysis, and predictive modeling of critical infrastructure systems
- Innovations in education and lifelong learning of the study of FEW
- Best practices for stakeholder engagement, co-identifying and coproducing knowledge and solutions related to critical urban infrastructure systems, bridging science to practical implementation.
The RCN will enhance scientific cooperation among NYIT, NYU, and CUNY in New York City as the coordination team, with the partner universities including Arizona State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan, strengthened through international collaborating partners from McGill University in Canada, HFT Stuttgart in Germany, and the Chinese University of Finance and Economics in China.
The City-as-Lab RCN will have industry and utility partner stakeholders including Consolidated Edison Company and National Grid, as well as NYC agency partners including the Office of Long-Term Planning, Department of Health, Department of Sanitation, Department of Environmental Protection, and the New York City Housing Authority, among others. A significant and long-lasting impact is that the RCN will engage junior scholars and students from across the network and mentor them to become global sustainability scholars knowledgeable about the FEW nexus through a lens shaped by data, field experiences, and engagement with stakeholders.
The RCN will also provide opportunities for strong cultural diversity, leadership of women in engineering and other STEM fields, and students from underrepresented groups, and for training the next generation of researchers and urban designers with the necessary multidisciplinary background to build a healthy, prosperous, and resilient future.
Visit the City as Lab website here to learn more