The Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience funded six projects over the summer with topics ranging from mortgages to extreme heat to tiny houses — all with a focus on resilience.
Now, the researchers are preparing to report their results at the forum’s Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech.
The forum brings together university researchers and partner organizations to facilitate conversations about patterns and processes of urbanization and regional development, with a special emphasis on the long-term resilience of places and communities.
The particular focus of the forum is the evolutionary and transformational resilience of cities and the way that places adapt — or not — to flows of capital, people, resources, and ideas.
The summer research program was designed to support research that integrates one of the forum’s thematic areas — Financial Resilience, Socio-Political Dimensions of Resilience, Resilience Machine, and Resilient Infrastructure — with one or more of the Virginia Tech Destination Areas. Researchers worked closely with and mentored undergraduate research assistants.
The summer research projects and their researchers are:
- “Towards Better Estimates of Population Heat Exposure Using MODIS Data in Combination with Synthetic Populations” — As extreme heat events become more frequent and intense, the need to develop ways to estimate heat exposure becomes more urgent.
The goal of this project was to train an undergraduate student to work with synthetic population data and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer data to create estimates of population heat exposure and compare these estimates with earlier results.
This project integrates the forum’s theme on Socio-Political Dimensions of Resilience with multiple Destination Areas: Resilient Earth Systems, Intelligent Infrastructure and Human-Centered Communities, and Data and Decision Sciences.
Researchers for this project were Samarth Swarup, a research assistant professor in the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory within the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, and Julia Gohlke, an assistant professor of population health sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
- “Smart, Sustainable, Small Cities” (a partnership between Virginia Tech and Hollins University) — Integrating storytelling, personal narratives, and visual media, this project focused on how small cities can become more resilient and sustainable over the next two decades. Initial efforts focused on Roanoke, Virginia, with expansion to other smaller cities planned.
The goal is to create a living laboratory that will be a national focal point for research, outreach, and education on small cities.
This project integrates the forum’s theme on Socio-Political Dimensions of Resilience with the Intelligent Infrastructure and Human-Centered Communities Destination Area.
This project will be presented by researchers Margaret Cowell, an assistant professor of urban affairs and planning in the School of Public and International Affairs, and Jon Bohland, an associate professor of international studies in the global politics and societies department at Hollins University.
- “Developing a Decision Support System for Coastal Resiliency Using a GeoDesign Framework” — This project proposed to construct an decision support system for use by policymakers, planners, designers, and the public who need to better understand and respond to environmental challenges they are facing. This decision support system will empower the parties involved to move beyond sustainability toward making resilient policies, plans, and design decisions.
This project integrates the forum’s theme on Resilient Infrastructure with the Intelligent Infrastructure and Human-Centered Communities Destination Area.
Results of this project will be presented by researcher Mintai Kim, an associate professor of landscape architecture in the School of Architecture + Design.
- “Financial Resilience of the U.S. Mortgage Markets: The Network Approach” — A project that examined the primary U.S. mortgage market as a network of financial institutions and households in different regions, with a focus on how the origin, volume, quality, and other characteristics of mortgage loans are distributed.
This project integrates the forum’s themes on Financial Resilience and Resilience Machine with the Decision Sciences and the Integrated Security destination areas.
Presenters of this project are three researchers from the College of Science: Kwok Ping Tsang, an associate professor of economics; Eric Bahel, an assistant professor of economics; and Sudipta Sarangi, a professor of economics.
- “Quantifying Natural Disasters’ Impact on Neighborhood Transition” — This project focused on studying the impacts of natural disasters on neighborhood transition in New York City with a goal of better understanding neighborhood resilience and supporting adaptive planning for building disaster-resilient, sustained, and just communities.
This project integrates the forum’s theme on Socio-Political Dimensions of Resilience with the Resilient Earth Systems and the Intelligent Infrastructure and Human-Centered Communities destination areas.
Results of this project will be presented by researchers Chris Zobel, the R.B. Pamplin Professor of Business Information Technology in the Pamplin College of Business, and Yang Zhang, an associate professor of urban affairs and planning in the School of Public and International Affairs.
- “Tiny Home Communities: Potential Incubators for a Sustainable and Resilient Society” — This project was an exploratory field study that aimed to evaluate whether tiny homes (small residences of 400 square feet or less) have potential sustainability and resilience advantages that could lead to new approaches for affordable housing and disaster response. The study considered the social, economic, and physical characteristics of tiny home communities in comparison to communities of analogous housing types.
This project integrates the forum’s theme on Resilience Machine with the Intelligent Infrastructure and Human-Centered Communities Destination Area.
Presenting the results of this project will be Annie R. Pearce, an associate professor of building construction in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction.
Written by Kathy Acosta.