Research Focus

Humanity finds itself in a period of uncertainty. A long-overdue rise in prosperity in the developing world is being accompanied by serious environmental challenges, as well as economic volatility in the developed world. Meanwhile, the global population continues to grow, with people choosing to settle mainly in cities. If we are to find a path to a future with reduced resource intensity, prosperity and climate-neutrality, we must do so in our urban areas.

Urban Metabolism

Cities are widely recognized as national/global economic engines, being supported through resouces drawn from their hinterlands. Energy, food, construction materials, goods, and water constantly flow into cities, transformed by the processes that provide us with nurishment, comfort, employment, and entertainment. After their use, these resources exit our cities in a multitude of waste streams - exhaust fumes, smokestack plumes, solid waste, sewage, storm water, and low-grade heat. But research shows us that these waste streams hold much value that hasn't fully been exploited; how can we improve the efficiency of these transformative processes, as well as extract the valuable resources from these waste flows to inch closer to sustainable cities?

Cities - The Problem and the Solution

In order for cities to be the future of our economic progress, they need to cease to be the dominant source of our environmental problems. We need to find ways to use energy much more efficiently in our buildings and transportation networks. We need to reduce the seemingly insatiable demand that is placed on our natural support systems. We need to work towards closing the nutrient, hydrological, and material loops, diverting their linear path through our urban systems, where they are presently transformed into "waste". Through the leaps in ingenuity that cities enable, this is all within our grasp. My research investigates problems within this realm. I invite you to examine some of the answers I've found to this point.