Sustainable and resilient urban stormwater management seminar

The Water Research Centre invites you to the seminar of Professor Barbara Minsker from the University of Illinois.

Prof Barbara Minsker. Source: University of Illinois

Prof Barbara Minsker. Source: University of Illinois

Barbara Minsker is Professor and Arthur and Virginia Nauman Faculty Scholar in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research uses information technology to improve understanding and management of complex environmental systems, with a focus on water and sustainability. She served as a policy consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency from 1986-1990, and has been at the University of Illinois since 1996. Barbara will be visiting the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering next week.

 

Prof Minsker’s seminar is entitled: ‘Sustainable and Resilient Urban Stormwater Management: Novel “Big Data” Approaches to Improving Human and Ecosystem Wellbeing’.

Abstract: Over half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a number predicted to grow to 60 percent by 2030. Urban areas face unprecedented and growing challenges from population growth; increased flooding, droughts, and severe storms from climate instability; food, water, and energy insecurity; poverty and health issues; and loss of biodiversity.

The increasing stream of data and information (“Big Data”) can support rapid advances on these challenges through informatics- and systems-based methods. This talk will discuss research that demonstrates this potential, focusing on urban stormwater challenges. Ongoing research to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) using an interactive knowledge discovery dashboard and model predictive control algorithms will be highlighted first.

Many major cities are launching initiatives to address CSOs and associated water quality problems through wide-scale implementation of green stormwater infrastructure (GI), such as rain gardens, permeable pavements, green roofs, and urban wetlands. Current design practices focus solely on stormwater criteria for designing GI, but significant co-benefits to human and ecosystem health can be achieved through a more holistic approach.

The second portion of the talk will present a novel computational GI design framework that integrates stormwater management requirements with criteria for human and ecosystem health. The framework enables crowd-sourced, collaborative design using numerical and machine learning models coupled with a service-oriented cyberinfrastructure. The framework will be tested in Baltimore and Chicago and the findings extended to 3 other cities through a national working group funded by the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland.

When: Wednesday 19 March at 4 pm
Where: Ligertwood 333, Law Lecture Theatre.

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