Franco Montalto, PhD

Professor of Environmental Engineering

Montalto directs the Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Laboratory in Drexel's College of Engineering and he also serves as the director for the Northeast hub of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. He is an civil/environmental engineer and hydrologist with a background in applied and theoretical approaches to solving complex environmental problems. His research focuses on the development of ecologically, economically and socially sensible solutions to urban environmental problems with a focus on sustainable water resource engineering.

He has more than 20 years of experience in eco-hydrological research, planning and design projects. Some of them include the restoration of wetlands, the use of constructed wetlands for wastewater and stormwater treatment, construction of green infrastructure and creating low-impact development technologies. 

Related from the Drexel News Blog


In The News

Philadelphia Neighborhood Faces Floods, Tough Choices as Climate Crisis Hits “Planet Streets”
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, was quoted in a Dec. 4 CBS Philadelphia story about persistent flooding in Philadelphia’s Eastwick community and efforts to help the community build its climate resiliency.
As Waters Rise, a Community Must Decide: Do We Stay or Go?
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, was quoted in a Sept. 28 Yale Environment 360 feature about his work with Philadelphia's Eastwick community to develop strategies for building resilience to chronic flooding.
How Tackling Real-World Problems Transformed My Teaching and Research
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, authored a Sept. 26 column in Nature about the benefits of focusing college courses on tackling real-world problems.
NBC10 @Issue: Urban Heat Islands
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, was a guest on the Aug. 6 episode of WCAU-TV (NBC-10)'s "NBC-10 @Issue" to discuss Philadelphia's climate change vulnerabilities.
Shade Stations Are the Coolest Places To Be This Summer
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, was interviewed in a July 27 WTXF-TV (FOX-29) "Good Day" news segment about the neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to extreme heat, and his work with community groups and Arxis League architects to help mitigate the problem by building and installing shade structures.
Climate Scientists Say Extreme Rain Behind Deadly Bucks County Flood Is Becoming More Frequent
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, was quoted in a July 18 WHYY story looking at why extreme flooding events, like the recent deluge in Bucks County, are becoming more common.
New York Has $1.1 Billion To Fight Flooding. Will It Be Enough?
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, was quoted in a July 15 New York Times story about New York City's investment in flood-mitigation planning.
How Climate Change Is Impacting the Philadelphia Region
Franco Montalto, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, was featured in a June 19 KYW-TV (CBS-3) story about the effects of climate change on the Philadelphia region and new efforts to build climate resiliency.

Related Articles

Cop28 Students, Faculty Represent Drexel University at COP28 Through Dialogue and Research
Over two weeks, 11 community members traveled to Dubai to engage in talk of climate solutions.
Schuylkill River Drexel-Led Consortium Releases Research Strategy for Building Philadelphia Region’s Climate Resilience
In hopes of preparing the city for these changes, Drexel University, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and CCRUN convened more than 100 experts, community members and stakeholders to produce a research agenda that, if pursued, could help to fortify Philadelphia, and its most vulnerable populations, against the extreme effects of climate change.
Supported by William Penn Foundation, Drexel, Penn and Villanova Join Forces to Help Philadelphia Communities Address Water Management Effects of Climate Change
In hopes of helping communities throughout the city that are facing water management problems due to the effects of climate change, Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University are forming a community-focused research network with support from the William Penn Foundation. The Academic Network to Support Urban Water Resilience will direct water management research centers at each of the schools in service of community-based organizations that are developing strategies to bolster their climate resilience.
Sign outside COP27 in Egypt Drexel University Represented by Interdisciplinary Delegation at COP27
An interdisciplinary group traveled to Egypt to represent Drexel and engage in global efforts to combat climate change.
Couple walking on path surrounded by trees Being in Nature: Good for Mind, Body and Nutrition
Researchers from Drexel University investigated how nature relatedness – simply feeling connected with the natural world – benefits dietary diversity and fruit and vegetable intake, in a study recently published the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Evening traffic on the streets of Philadelphia. Downtown and City Hall in background. After the 2020 Protests, Let’s Reimagine Urban Green Space as a Way to Promote Social Justice
There is a growing recognition that social justice is also environmental justice and health justice. Those goals can all be achieved in the redesign of physical spaces, writes College of Engineering Professor Franco Montalto, PhD, in this “Rebuilding Philly” essay.
Study: Parks Not Only Safe, but Essential During the Pandemic

Parks played an important role for people seeking respite from the toll of social isolation during the pandemic, and according to new research from Drexel University, they did so without increasing the spread of COVID-19. The study looked at how people used 22 parks in Philadelphia and New York during the height of the pandemic and it found no strong correlation between park use and the number of confirmed cases in surrounding neighborhoods.

The University's Climate Year logo over a background of flowers on campus. Drexel Added to University Climate Change Coalition
The University will work with partner North American institutions of higher education to address and advance climate action through research, partnerships and other collaborations.