Urban and Regional Planning connecting research and practice around climate adaptation with EPA/USGBC

Over the last six months, Larissa Larsen, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, and a team students have worked with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to consider how climate adaptation strategies might be integrated into green building practices and evaluations. USGBC oversees the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating systems for new and renovated buildings and neighborhoods. The students who worked on the project include Ph.D. student, Nick Rajkovich, and Master of Urban and Regional Planning graduate students: Koben Calhoun (dual M.U.P./Public Policy), Clair Leighton (Dual M.U.P./SNRE), Kevin McCoy, Jared Enriques, Evan Mallen, and Kevin Bush.

USGBC representatives Chris Pyke and Sean McMahon came to Ann Arbor on January 26, 2011, and hosted a webinar with the research team and approximately fifteen members of different U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) departments. Rosina Bierbaum, Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment, presented an overview about the University of Michigan’s on-going climate mitigation and adaptation research. Over the last 10 years, the University has received almost $20 million dollars to support this research. Larsen and her team are collaboratively working with the USGBC to produce a technical report, an adaptation index, and a scholarly article on adaptation planning by by May 2011. The meeting was an effort to link the various needs at EPA with this project and ensure the resulting products serve the intended users effectively. Also in attendance from Taubman College for collaboration purposes were Urban and Regional Planning Program Chair, Dick Norton and Associate Dean of Research, Jean Wineman. The day-long event was hosted in the Michigan League by the Urban and Regional Planning Program.