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CAEE Department Students and Faculty Awarded Research Fellowships from Drexel's Urban Sustainability Initiative

February 20, 2014

Two teams of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering graduate students and faculty were recently awarded funding in the Drexel University Urban Sustainability Initiative (USI) 2014 Fellowship Program.  This program has awarded 8 Drexel teams to conduct pilot research projects with a focus on advancing urban sustainability.  The goal of USI and its research is to address the challenges of creating sustainable, equitable and healthful urban communities.  

Jeff Pu, a CAEE masters student originally from Zhejiang, China, will work with CAEE Department’s Dr. Franco Montalto on a project titled: Green Infrastructure: Performance analysis of the ABC Carpet Stormwater Treatment Wetland installed in the Bronx, NY. The objective of the project is to analyze the hydrologic performance of a constructed wetland installed in Bronx, New York. This wetland filters runoff generated from a nearby parking lot before it discharges into the Bronx River. After two years of onsite monitoring, various analysis were conducted to characterize the effectiveness of this wetland in retaining stormwater runoff.  The final product of this project will be a journal paper summarizing the analysis in the context of ecological, economic and social sustainability.   

Yetunde Sorunmu, a CAEE doctoral student, originally from Lagos, Nigeria, will work with CAEE Department’s Drs. Patrick Gurian, Sabrina Spatari, and Dr. Christian Hunold from the Department of History and Politics, on a project titled: Benchmarking Performance for Sub-acre Farms. This group will be investigating the economic and intangible benefits of small urban farming. The project focuses on identifying the economic comparative advantage of aspects of urban agriculture, by targeting activities that are comparatively labor intensive and market segments where a relative advantage over larger-scale operations may exist. These market segments include consumers interested in organic produce and those willing to pay a premium for freshness and quality. The project aims to develop its own economic model of small-scale agriculture and inform this model with parameter inputs from the technical literature and from key informants.  

CAEE Department’s Dr. Mira Olson will also be working with Dr. Mary Ebeling of the Department of Culture and Communication, to co-advise Communication, Culture, and Media doctorial student Danie Greenwell on a project titled: Refuse, Reuse, Revalue: Redefining Value in Philadelphia’s Waste Streams.  

One of the Initiative’s leaders, Dr. Patrick Gurian states: “This USI Fellowship Program is a great addition to Drexel. It provides a mechanism to support Sustainability research at Drexel and identify promising new opportunities in the field. This program’s strength is its focus on the students. By providing a mentored and supported research experience for students, the program will train the next generation of sustainability researchers and practitioners.”