WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $66 million in funding for three projects, together involving over 20 institutions, that will develop Urban Integrated Field Laboratories (Urban IFLs) in Baltimore, MD, Chicago, IL, and the Texas Gulf Coast. These Urban IFLs will expand the understanding of climate and weather events and their impact on urban systems, including diverse demographic characteristics; differing climate-induced pressures on people and infrastructures; and varied geographic settings. Understanding how climate change will impact urban systems and infrastructure is key to building resilient cities powered by clean energy, helping achieve President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
“Understanding the risks of climate change and extreme weather means understanding the direct and indirect effects on people, their homes, their businesses, and the communities they live in,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “The Urban Integrated Field Labs will strengthen DOE leadership in climate modeling and drive scientific breakthroughs to inform the development of resilience technology that can protect America’s diverse communities.”
Each Urban IFL project team brings together scientific expertise from multiple institutions with a breadth of expertise in field observations, data assimilation, modeling, and model-data fusion to study the environmental, ecological, infrastructural, and human components of their selected urban regions. The selected projects will advance our scientific understanding of urban systems and harness that understanding to inform equitable climate and energy solutions, strengthening community scale resilience in urban landscapes, and addressing climate change impacts on underrepresented and disadvantaged communities.
The three selected projects will work in three different urban regions that are facing different environmental and climate hazards, and that each have distinct and diverse disadvantaged populations. Each selected IFL includes significant participation from local and minority serving institutions and will provide new opportunities at these institutions to inspire, train, and support leading scientists who have an appreciation for the global climate and energy challenges of the 21st century. The Urban IFLs will serve as an important element of DOE Office of Science’s commitment to the “Justice 40” initiative, which prioritizes investment in diverse and underrepresented communities affected by a changing climate.
The Urban IFL projects include:
- Chicago, IL, the 3rd largest city in the nation, led by Argonne National Laboratory, will employ a network of observations and modeling from street to regional scales to explore multiple issues, including mitigation via green roofs and blue spaces, and community-driven future scenarios for adaptation and decarbonization.
- Austin, TX, led by the University of Texas at Austin in Beaumont/Port Arthur Texas, focuses on specific challenges of industrialized, medium sized port cities, including significant legacies of petrochemical industry, and how climate change may affect urban flooding and air quality.
- Baltimore, MD, led by Johns Hopkins University, focuses on a metropolitan area facing interlinked challenges of aging infrastructure, increased heat and flood risk, and inequitable burdens of air and water pollution that are common to many other mid-sized industrial cities in the Eastern and Midwest United States.
While each project is distinct, each has similarities to other U.S. urban regions and will develop new tools and techniques that will help other cities benefit from the science and success stories of these Urban IFLs.
The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement for Urban Integrated Field Laboratories. Additional selections will be made in fiscal year 2023, subject to the availability of funds.
Total funding is $66 million for projects lasting up to five years in duration, with $18 million in Fiscal Year 2022 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. The list of projects and more information can be found here.