RCN E-Newsletter February 2016

This month the RCN Sustainable Cities ENewsletter highlights the following RCN members’ activities:

Please join us, and check out the exciting news from our RCN and SUS members and opportunities below. As always, if you have any information you would like to add to future ENewsletters, please send that information to rcnsustainablecities@gmail.com. Thank you for all that you do to further the RCN Sustainable Cities initiative.
Blog: https://sustainablecitiesrcn.wordpress.com/

Express Your Interest in RCN Virtual Collaboratory Calls

RCN Virtual Collaboratory Calls are set up online to share and discuss research on Sustainable Cities. Are you interested in taking part in the next sessions? Let us know!


RCN Panel at NCSE Conference on Food-Energy-Water Nexus

Members from the RCN presented at the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE)’s  16th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: The Food-Energy-Water Nexus. The conference was held in Washington DC January 19-21, 2016.

Anu Ramaswami (University of Minnesota) and Patricia Culligan (Columbia University) co-moderated a panel entitled: “The Nexus in Cities: Measuring Impact and Exploring Solutions”. Panel speakers included: Dana Boyer (University of Minnesota), Oliver Gao (Cornell University), Debbie Goettel (City of Richfield, MN), Joshua Newell (University of Michigan) and Timothy Smith (University of Minnesota). Topics discussed ranged from urban gardens in Detroit and New York, to Delhi’s water and greenhouse gas emissions footprints, to carbon emissions and air pollution of food supply chains. The work was well received by the many policy makers and academics in attendance.
More information on the conference can be found here:http://foodenergywaternexus.org/.


PCAST Report: “Technology and the Future of Cities”

On February 23, 2016, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a Report to the President on Technology and the Future of Cities. Growing urbanization presents the United States with an opportunity to showcase its innovation strength, grow its exports, and help to improve citizens’ lives – all at once. Seizing this triple opportunity will involve a concerted effort to develop and apply new technologies to enhance the way cities work for the people who live there.

Sybil Derrible Wins NSF CAREER Award with Urban Metabolism Research

Sybil Derrible, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will receive the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Professor Derrible’s project,  “Understanding the Fundamental Principles Driving Household Energy and Resource Consumption for Smart, Sustainable, and Resilient Communities”, combines urban metabolism with complexity theory. “The funding will help to discover the fundamental principles that govern how location and lifestyle matters for energy and resource consumption,” said Derrible. A better understanding of energy flows in cities will provide planners and engineers with information that will enable them to design smarter and more resilient infrastructure systems that are decentralized and distributed.
Read more here:


Publications by the International City/County Management Association

A new research report published by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) explores the role of local governments and citizen engagement in transforming distressed neighborhoods.  Public housing and subsidized rentals are a way of life for many families in cities throughout much of the U.S. and it has become clear that traditional approaches to neighborhood and community planning are not producing the desired results. Evaluating the Role of Local Government and Project Stakeholder Engagement in Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Planning and Implementation summarizes ICMA’s three-year study of Salisbury, North Carolina; Suffolk, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia, and their use of grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to implement a Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan.  This comprehensive approach to neighborhood planning takes into account the economic and social needs of residents in public and assisted housing beyond those of their physical environment.
For more information, contact Cory Fleming, Senior Technical Specialist and Program Director  at cfleming@icma.org.

To better understand opportunities for local governments to support food systems through policies, programs, plans, and partnerships, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)and the Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems conducted a benchmark survey in 2012 and fielded a follow-up survey in 2015. The preliminary 2015 results from more than 2,200 respondents highlight trends and changes in many areas of community food systems, including production, processing, distribution, access, and disposal, and paint a clearer picture of the motivations and potential roles for local governments and their partners in food system development.
ICMA and the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems will release the full findings of the 2015 survey in the coming months. In the meantime, the Local Government Knowledge Network features a number of resources to help communities and advocates with sustainable community food systems, including:

For more information, contact Andrea Fox, director, ICMA Center for Sustainable Communities, afox@icma.org or Laura Goddeeris, specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems,laurag@msu.edu

Mark Reiner and Anu Ramaswami Define Remedial Secondary Infrastructure

Dr. Reiner and Dr. Ramaswami (University of Minnesota) published a paper in Journal of Infrastructure Systems entitled “What Is Remedial Secondary Infrastructure? Implications for Infrastructure Design, Policy for Sustainability, and Resilience.” Remedial Secondary Infrastructure (RSI) arises when individual households privately purchase additional infrastructure services to correct, or remediate, the already provided for primary infrastructure.

Read the full article here.

Apply for UIC’s Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy

This summer (August 4-16), the Energy Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago will host their 6th annual Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy. Entitled “Nexus,” the program will explore the intersection of energy and water, and the impact of that intersection on the environment.

To apply, applicants must submit an online application, a resume, and two recommendation letters for consideration. Application information, program information, and more can be found at the website (https://sise.uic.edu/). Applications will be accepted through July 1, 2016.

Job Openings in Sustainability

  • The California Environmental Protection Agency is looking to hire a fuel and industrial sector inventory specialist to join California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory team.  The job ad can be found here.  Application deadline is MARCH 10.
  • The Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University (CSU) invites applications for a tenure track professor in Sustainability Science at the rank of assistant or associate professor.

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