Water is an invaluable and finite resource. The built and natural environments cannot exist without it, yet human interaction with water comes with risks. Finding new ways to live with water is among the most urgent priorities in the planning of urban regions across the globe.
Faculty engage in a diverse set of water-driven research initiatives across scales and geographies. We study, for example, how addressing climate change can help communities develop resilience planning strategies; how increasing population growth and water consumption in emerging nations affect sustainable water supplies; and what opportunities exist for innovative water infrastructure systems in urban areas. We develop innovative visualization techniques to convey the complexity and dynamic nature of urban-water interactions. We develop new planning techniques to assess risk, address vulnerability, and gauge the fiscal impacts of shoreline development, and we assess the planning, design, policy, and legal implications in their implementation. Our work also reveals the symbolic dimensions of water, its cultural and phenomenological resonances, and its place in social and environmental advocacy.
These research initiatives compare data from hundreds of cities across the globe while also engaging in sustained regional, watershed and urban level planning in geographies across the Americas, Europe, and Africa. We highlight especially the environmental and equity agendas facing communities within the Great Lakes Basin – our home, and a critical region containing 20% of the global and 80% of the national fresh water supply.
Understanding the important role water will play in the generation of new urbanisms requires collaboration. Our faculty combine quantitative and qualitative methods, we forge partnerships with professional practitioners and local organizations, and we integrate knowledge from the environmental and social sciences with insights from city planning, design, policymaking, and law.
Faculty Books on Water
The Politics of Urban Water: Changing Waterscapes in Amsterdam
In the News
Coastal care: Researchers work with communities to shore up effects of erosion
Norton Speaks with Michigan Radio’s Stateside about Planning for the Rise and Fall of Great Lakes In Coastal Communities
New Scenario-Based Planning Methods Developed to Help Great Lakes Communities Plan for Changing Water Level
Goodspeed’s work on Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat measurement tools published in Marine Policy
Dewar and Team Part of $3M Grant from Erb Foundation for Research on Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Professors Velikov and Thün’s Buoyant Aquacology project published in Water, and featured in the touring exhibition HYDROCity
WATERSHED (or) Wrapping Sheds with Water
Ikiam: Re-thinking the Architectures of Education in the Amazon Rain Forest