2019 CURES Connections Workshop: New Voices and Paths to Urban Sustainability

Amy Ando, Anne-Marie Hanson, Elizabeth Kocs, Cynthia Klein-Banai, Dean Massey, Carolee Rigsbee, Ashish Sharma, Donald Wuebbles, Zellner Moira, Lei Zhao

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES) at the University of Illinois organized the one-and-a-half-day “CURES Connections Workshop: New Voices and Paths to Urban Sustainability” on August 7-8, 2019, at the Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago, IL. This National Science Foundation (NSF) supported workshop (Award #1929856) aimed to explore the concepts for advancing Sustainable Urban Systems Research Networks. The workshop explored important dimensions of convergent sustainability science to establish the foundation for a new multi-disciplinary multi-stakeholder research network that can deliver actionable research-based and cost-effective solutions to the problems that communities of many sizes really face. This workshop brought together over 130 stakeholders from across the United States representing researchers and experts from many disciplines (e.g., engineering, natural and social sciences, arts, and humanities) from universities and national laboratories, municipalities, agencies, private industries, non-profit organizations, and utilities. Involving a range of voices from these many different societal sectors, we identified critical gaps in the implementation of solutions for sustainability challenges in energy, water, and climate in a range of different types of urban systems – urban, suburban, rural – and across city sizes from small to large. The workshop was designed using a participatory modeling approach. Based on the insight gained from keynotes speakers, and from experts in panels (from municipalities; private industry, non-profit organizations and utilities; social science, arts and humanities; and technical, earth and natural sciences) and the outputs from carefully designed workshop activities, the workshop successfully achieved the following four objectives: <br>1. Identifying factors differentiating sustainability solutions for communities of different sizes — participants summarized commonalities and differences in critical problems, causes, and consequences, lever points, facilitators, and barriers to change for water, energy, and climate-related issues among cities of different sizes. <br>2. Integrating researchers with municipal and industry stakeholders on research — the workshop brought together more than 50% of participants from non-academia. Such a large stakeholder presence led to broadening the perspectives of participants on issues (including causes and impacts) and solutions (including barriers and enablers). <br>3. The inclusion of neglected disciplines in sustainability research — provided a unique perspective through the lens of arts and humanities and human dimension which is traditionally neglected in urban sustainability discussions. <br>4. Developing implementable strategies supporting a large scale multi-stakeholder research network to tackle sustainability issues — participants developed problem-solution pairs for convergence research around green infrastructure, decision support, renewables/solar, building coalitions between cities/regional planning, and building new business models/economic models.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2020


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