UCCRN Launches North American Hub at Drexel University
UCCRN’s North American Hub was officially launched at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Wednesday, November 30, 2016. Directed by environmental engineering professor Dr Franco Montalto, the Hub’s network of experts consists of over 100 scientists, engineers and planners from across the continent.. UCCRN Co-Director, William Solecki, and UCCRN Program Manager, Somayya Ali Ibrahim, were on hand to officially launch the Hub.
The North American Hub is the latest addition to UCCRN’s global network of Regional Hubs, which already have a presence in Europe, Latin America, Africa, East Asia and Australia. Through the hubs, UCCRN will be able to place a greater focus on need-directed research and facilitating collaboration between climate change researchers and city managers, and at the same time allow for a differentiated focus between hubs, enabling them to address the most pertinent in their region.
“We made the decision to transition to an organizational structure that allowed for more regular and more intimate interactions between the research community and urban decision makers,” Montalto said. “The North American Hub of UCCRN will feature a project exchange that can directly link students, faculty and other researchers to practitioners working in city government. This exchange will enable students and faculty to partner with city leaders on applied research that is also policy-relevant.”
The North American Hub will work closely with municipal governments across North America so as to carry out urban climate science research that will be crucial in enabling the decision-making process surrounding climate change adaptation and mitigation in cities. In particular, the hub’s work is expected to revolve around key issues surrounding water, energy, air, heat, health and policy implications of climate change.
“Drexel has worked with cities in the region on mitigation efforts, such as developing a greenhouse gas reduction strategy with the City of Philadelphia; and on adaptation efforts, such as identifying urban landscape features that protected against property damage in New York City during Hurricane Sandy,” said Patrick Gurian, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering, whose work on greenhouse gas reduction and environmental sustainability policy could be enhanced by the collaborations made possible through UCCRN. “The hub represents an opportunity to strengthen these efforts by involving a broader set of academics and cities in the research.”