Workshop Examines Urban Infrastructure Systems
December 11, 2017
Experts from North America and Europe met in New York City to explore developments in urban interconnected critical infrastructure (ICI), including the latest tools to enhance the resilience of food, energy, and water (FEW) systems. The workshop, “Urban Infrastructures: Analysis and Modeling for Their Optimal Management and Operation,” included nearly a hundred participants from U.S. national laboratories, private consultancies, universities, and American, Canadian, Austrian, and German research institutes.
New York City is a natural meeting ground for such a diverse group, since it is geographically central, has a wide range of infrastructure facilities, and enjoys support from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Urban areas around the world are facing multi-faceted challenges to increase sustainability and to be resilient to environmental impacts, and this group of participants represents the forefront of resiliency efforts in many fields.
Engineers, urban planners, data scientists, policymakers, and others met over two days in the workshop, which was sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, NYIT (New York Institute of Technology), and German institution Hochschule für Technik (HFT) Stuttgart.
Workshop participants enjoyed seeing results from new simulation tools designed to show stakeholders the potential impact of various environmental events. Planners can put various parameters into the software and see models that demonstrate what could happen, including islands emerging from what is now low-lying land. A major area of concern in coastal areas is flooding, and already various parts of the United States are experiencing “sunny day flooding” because of rising sea levels.
“With these tools, local decision-makers can better understand the interdependence within ICI systems,” said Ziqian (Cecilia) Dong, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at NYIT. “There are so many factors to consider, and these new technologies can help people decide where to target their efforts.”
Dong organized the workshops with colleagues from NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences; NYIT School of Architecture and Design; The City University of New York; HFT Stuttgart; New York University; and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
In addition to technologies associated with data collection, analysis, and visualization, other panels addressed systems-based and holistic approaches to ICI for FEW supply; the evolution of urban infrastructure; urban informatics; and FEW case studies involving supply, distribution, and waste disposal and recycling systems.
Dong said, “This workshop has enhanced scientific cooperation among a wide range of stakeholders, including scholars and educators; representatives of industry and government agencies; and urban planners and policymakers. We are excited to share what we’ve done here, because these are longstanding challenges that deserve continuing attention.”
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