Earth Institute scientists across many disciplines are playing key roles in helping New York move forward following Hurricane Sandy. Many were already advising the city about the potential effects of sea-level rise, storm surge, climate change and related issues before the storm hit, For better or worse, their predictions were vindicated, and they now continue efforts to help make infrastructure and population more resilient and sustainable.
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Columbia University convened a forum featuring faculty researchers from The Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Mailman School of Public Health, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of International and Public Affairs. This university-wide conversation, co-sponsored by The Earth Institute, Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, and World Leaders Forum, brought together just a few of the many Columbia researchers whose interdisciplinary work is adding to our understanding of the risks facing coastal communities, including New York City and its suburbs.
By Noah Morgenstein This May, students in the Master of Science in Sustainability Management and the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development toured Via Verde, one of New York’s greenest housing complexes. From the photovoltaic solar panels to the rooftop gardens and water reclamation system, Via Verde embodies many of the practical approaches to sustainable development that [...]
The threat of sea-level rise–actually, its ongoing reality–has been on many more minds since New York and surrounding areas were walloped during Hurricane Sandy by a record-high storm surge, abetted by a water level that has risen steadily over the last century. That level will keep rising if climate keeps warming, and so, probably, will the frequency of extreme weather. That is why the new book Rising Seas: Past, Present Future by geologist Vivien Gornitz is a timely and important contribution to helping people understand the issue.
(Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2013) Before Hurricane Sandy, scientists at The Earth Institute were at the forefront of studying the dangers posed by such storms, especially in the New York City area, where they are based. Among their specialties: the physics of storms and storm prediction; impacts of climate on weather and sea level; vulnerability [...]
Graduate students in architecture and urban design recently presented their findings and design work issuing out of a collaboration between the Urban Design Lab (UDL) and MCI in the Millennium City of Kumasi, Ghana. At the city’s invitation, and with MCI’s facilitation, the UDL came to Kumasi in early February, to devise solutions to revitalize the severely degraded and impoverished areas of Akrom, Adukrom and Sewabah and to design a comprehensive Women’s and Girls’ Center for the vibrant downtown commercial neighborhood of Bantama.
The results are in for the first study to systematically measure the effects of the city’s fledgling effort to introduce more reflective rooftops in order to reduce cooling costs and the overall heat burden on the city.
Urbanization poses both challenges and opportunities for sustainable development and environmental management. Improved data on patterns of human settlement and trends in population can help researchers and policy makers better understand differences between urban and rural areas in terms of their impacts on the environment and vulnerability to environmental variability and change. The newly released [...]
The following is a guest blog, authored by Victoria Okoye, a Millennium Cities Initiative researcher, who has been investigating urban transportation issues in Accra, Ghana.
Researching urban transport in Accra, Ghana, this summer on behalf of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Millennium Cities Initiative, I learned a lot about the city’s most well-known, loved, hated, but essential modes of transport. Tro-tros, as they are called here, are minibuses that seat 10 to 19 persons and operate along set routes inside the city. They transport 70% of Accra residents traveling to work and shopping, making it the most widely used form of transportation.
Accra, Ghana, MCI’s newest Millennium City, presents a unique set of challenges in its quest to attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. With a population of well over three million, Accra has had to deal with public sector challenges typical of many urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa, including finding solutions to the many pressing [...]