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Research team receives grant to study new urban infrastructure systems

Richard Feiock of the Askew School of Public Administration

A multidisciplinary team of researchers, including faculty and graduate students from the Florida State University College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant for the project “Urban Infrastructure Systems Framework to Advance Access and Well-being in Communities.”

The project falls under the National Science Foundation’s Smart & Connected Communities (S&CC) initiative. The effort aims to advance understanding of the functioning of cities and communities to improve quality of life through innovations in computing, engineering, information and physical sciences, social science and education.

Richard Feiock of the Askew School of Public Administration will lead a team of FSU researchers that includes College of Social Sciences and Public Policy Dean Timothy Chapin, as well as graduate students and a postdoctoral researcher from the Askew School. The FSU team will investigate the planning futures in Tallahassee/Leon County with a $310,000 award to the university.

The project will apply a smart urban infrastructure systems framework to advance access and well-being in cities. With transformative new infrastructures on the horizon, such as autonomous vehicles, smart and distributed energy systems, novel green infrastructure and urban farms, the physical fabric of our future cities will be very different from what exists today.

“This research will provide new insights on how the future spatial deployment of these new infrastructures will shape access, well-being, health and environmental sustainability in city neighborhoods,” Feiock said.

In addition to the Florida State team, research will be conducted by an interdisciplinary team from the University of Washington and Purdue University and led by principal investigators Shashi Shekhar and Anu Ramaswami of the University of Minnesota.

Researchers will conduct the project in partnership with the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota and Tallahassee/Leon County.

The project is an outgrowth of an ongoing NSF Sustainability Research Network. In 2015, Florida State University was awarded $500,000 of a $12 million NSF grant to investigate energy and transportation collaboration to promote sustainability within urban regions. Feiock oversees that subaward, which also supports research on the innovative energy efficiency programs that have been implemented by the city of Tallahassee and its utility services.