Mapping City Infrastructure to Live Within Our Means

by Matt Ball on October 31, 2010

There’s a profile of Professor David Parker of the University of Newcastle in today’s Guardian from the U.K. Here’s an innovative thinker that shares the belief of applying geotechnology for issues of sustainability, and is working on a project to map the city’s infrastructure in detail in order to “change to live within our means.”

The practical approach of the university’s Geomatics program is impressive, combining civil engineering and geosciences to “tackle the fundamental science related to intensifying global change and to confront the challenges this presents to our society and its supporting infrastructure.” The philosophy is of Earth Systems Science, Engineering and Management (ESSEM) as an overarching and strategic research theme that also ties to the schools Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability.

The curriculum addresses five overriding challenges:

  1. To understand the causes of past climate change events recorded in the geological record and the impact of environmental change on biogeochemical processes.
  2. To develop novel approaches for energy recovery and engineering technologies for climate change mitigation
  3. To advance predictive ability for the reliability and resilience of physical infrastructure in the face of intensifying environmental stresses.
  4. To pioneer approaches to the simulation and management of coupled human and natural systems within the water cycle
  5. To deliver new whole-system approaches to simulating and managing entire cities

This is an impressive and inspired approach that recognizes the convergence of geospatial tools, and aims to turn out a next-generation of practitioners that have both the skills and vision to design and manage our systems more holistically.

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