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Transforming Urban Infrastructure and Food Systems to Advance Environmental Sustainability, Health, Wellbeing and Equity in Cities

Speaker: Anu Ramaswami, University of Minnesota
Series: CEE Departmental Seminars
Location: Bowen Hall Auditorium
Date/Time: Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 12:30:00 p.m. - 01:30:00 p.m.


We now live on an urban planet where activities arising in urban areas are impacting human- and planetary wellbeing at unprecedented levels, from local- to regional- to global-scales. Seven key physical provisioning systems - that provide energy, water, buildings (shelter), food, mobility-connectivity, waste management, and green/public spaces - dominate the human and the environmental impacts of urban areas. In this seminar, Dr. Ramaswamiwill introduce a multi-scale, multi-sector social-ecological-infrastructural systems framework that describes how these key urban infrastructure and food systems interact with each other and with people and the environment across scale, to shape diverse sustainability outcomes. She will describe an application of the framework to characterize urban food systems in India, evaluating impacts of social equity scenarios, diet changes and infrastructure interventions on water, land and carbon emissions. A second example will present ongoing work in US cities around mobility and energy transitions. The talk will conclude by discussing how the urban infrastructure systems analytic approach is being used by policymakers in US Cities, and describe emerging international opportunities to scale-up impact by working with cohorts of cities across nations and world regions.


Dr. Anu Ramaswami is the Charles M. Denny Jr. Chair Professor of Science Technology & Environmental Policy at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Director of the NSF-supported Sustainable Healthy Cities research network. Ramaswami is an interdisciplinary environmental engineer, who is recognized as a pioneer and leader on the topic of sustainable urban systems. Her work has transformed how we study urban infrastructure and food systems in the context of achieving diverse sustainability outcomes such as carbon mitigation, health, wellbeing, resilience and equity.