tomorrow's cities have clean air?
Mitali Das Gupta, a doctoral candidate in energy economics at Jadavpur
University in India, worries about the air quality in New Dehli and Calcutta.
People in those cities breathe really dirty air and also pay a heavy
economic price for the cities emissions, she explains. So
Im looking at the health impact of emissions on the cities and the
socioeconomic factors that contribute to these emissions.
Mitali was one of 19 participants in the Advanced Institute on Urbanization,
Emissions, and the Global Carbon Cycle, held 422 August in FL3.
With urban areas growing ever larger and emitting significant amounts
of pollutants, the institute sought to foster more research into the impacts
that cities around the world have on air quality and climate change.
The Environmental and Societal Impacts Group sponsored the institute
with the SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training; the David and Lucille
Packard Foundation; and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change
Denver has battled air pollution for decades.
Participants submitted draft proposals for projects to reduce
the emissions, and they had the opportunity to receive up to $20,000 from
the Packard Foundation to help fund the research projects. They also received
new laptop computers and software for analyzing greenhouse gases emissions
and planning mitigation.
The concept is to give participants sufficient funds to test an
idea of how urbanization relates to emissions and global change,
says ESIG director Bob Harriss. They would use their preliminary
results to write a larger proposal to an appropriate funding source.
Bob codirected the institute with Richard Rockwell, executive director
of the University of Connecticuts Roper Center for Public Opinion
Research and Institute of Social Science.
Ernesto Arias, professor of urban and regional planning at the University
of ColoradoDenver, led one section of the institute. He pointed
out that by the year 2015, nearly half of the worlds population
will live in urban centers in developing nations. Its very
important that we translate knowledge into policy, he stressed to
Rosendo Pujol, director of the Research Program on Sustainable Urban
Development at the University of Costa Rica, had high expectations for
the participants. The problems ahead are very complicated,
warned Pujol, an instructor at the institute. You are the generation
that needs to find solutions.
The participants consisted of a diverse mix of young engineers, urban
planners, and social and natural scientists. Chosen from a large pool
of international applicants, most of them came from developing nations
where they either are pursuing doctoral degrees or are in the early and
middle stages of their careers.
They shared an eagerness to spend three intense weeks at NCAR scrutinizing
the sources and possible impacts of urban emissions on the crowded, warmer
world of the 21st century. Im here because I want to gain
knowledge and keep up to date so I can transfer what I know to students,
says Dewi Kirono, a lecturer on climate and urban air pollution at Gadjah
Mada University in Indonesia. I also want to build a network to
know what others are doing and strengthen my research capability.
During the institute, the group heard from more than 20 experts on topics
ranging from world population growth to urban transportation. Participants
examined case studies from the Front Range and abroad, visited Rocky Mountain
National Park, rode bikes around Boulder to look at ecology and urban
design, and drafted proposals for further research. Topics covered by
the institute included
Urban emissions of both long-lived greenhouse gases and shorter-lived
The effect of a citys geography and infrastructure on emissions
Reasons why cities differ in the volume and contents of their
emissions, even when they have the same standards of living
Institutions that shape production and consumption in cities
Methods for reducing emissions in cities of particular climates,
economies, and political systems
Ways to move toward more sustainable cities.
The participants will continue to consult with mentors from SysTem for
Analysis, Research and Training as they implement their projects over
the next two years, at which point the group will reconvene to review
everyones results. Nicole Gordon
Also in this
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Question: Nap room