The “Sustainable Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities” summer program is unique in bringing a cohort of students from four United States universities together with students from universities within China and India to learn and work together on building sustainable and healthy cities. The students are trained in widely varying disciplines- mathematics, engineering, environmental science, urban planning and public affairs – all of which are needed to solve the sustainability challenge.

This summer school is part of an National Science Foundation Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant that focuses on “Developing Low-Carbon Cities in the USA, China & India through Inter-Disciplinary Integration Across Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences & Public Health,” led by the University of Minnesota. This PIRE project seeks to  develop a transformative international research, education and outreach program to assist in the development of low-carbon, resource-efficient and healthy cities in the US, China and India.

A team of leading sustainability authorities from across the globe led by Dr. Anu Ramaswami, Charles M. Denny Jr. Chair Professor of Science Technology & Public Policy, at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (University of Minnesota), is coordinating the summer school that will train students on solving Asia’s most vexing sustainability problems.

In addition to the Humphrey School, students will learn from leading faculty researchers from Georgia Tech, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of Colorado – Denver and Yale. In the summer of 2013 this team worked together with the Indian partners – Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, ICLEI-South Asia, the Resource Optimization Initiative, and The Urban Health Research Center – to conduct team-based field work in six Indian cities with populations ranging from 2 to 17 million people. Students monitored a wide variety of sustainability indicators including human development, resource use, air pollution, and health outcomes, and study key technology, urban planning, and policy solutions to improve these indicators.

The summer of 2014, the summer school will be working with the Chinese partners – Chinese Academy of Science and Tsinghua University, to conduct team-based field work in five Chinese cities: Beijing Shanghai, Wuxi, Yixing and Xiamen with populations ranging from 1 to 14 million people. Students will monitor similar sustainability indicators as the previous summer in India.

“This is a one-of-a-kind collaboration from the world’s top sustainability experts,” said Dr. Ramaswami.  “By learning field work, inter-cultural, inter-disciplinary and systems thinking skills, students participating in this program will be uniquely positioned to tackle sustainability issues not only in Asia but across the globe.”

Faculty on this grant have prepared for this summer school in a recent workshop held at the National Academy of Engineering.

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