Urban Futures

This initiative investigates advances in the sciences, engineering, business, architecture, design, and law to ensure smart, equitable, sustainable, and healthy cities. Topics include hard and soft infrastructure; digital technologies; transportation systems; clean, sustainable, and secure energy storage and distribution; climate change resilience; efficient and reliable water systems; landscapes and ecology; urban agriculture; financial systems; and security. The complexity of these issues requires multidisciplinary efforts that address the human factors, social issues, and public policy and management, with the goal of achieving positive social impacts.

Featured Urban Futures Research

Cordless Charging

Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Lin Cai is exploring environmentally friendly ways to recharge small electronics that would eliminate the need for the traditional charging pad.  

A student points to a location on a map of the U.S.

“We can make the future power grid more stable and more sustainable by operating power electronic converters, which interface renewables, storage systems, and flexible loads with the grid as virtual synchronous machines."

Weslynne Ashton 350x260

“What this research shows is that we can’t just say that in order to save the planet and reduce our carbon emissions we need to eat less beef. We have to be more nuanced and understand who’s eating more beef and why.”

This nearly 2,000-year-old cherry tree is located in Japan.

Professor Ron Henderson, director of the Landscape Architecture and Urbanism program, is leading a team of botanical experts in a project to restore some of the oldest cherry trees—estimated at 70 to 80 years in age—at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

Gongkang Fu Wins Alfredo Ang Award

Bridge expert Gongkang Fu, who has contributed to research on the structural analysis, design, and infrastructure management of spans across the globe, has won the 2020 Alfredo Ang Award on Risk Analysis and Management of Civil Infrastructure. 

Chemistry Student Will Blodgett Conducting Water Experiments

Associate Professor Jean-Luc Ayitou and fourth-year student Will Blodgett are working on an organic water-biphasic project exploring water as a solvent, especially in industrial settings.