The University of Michigan has launched a new $1.2-million research project called the Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities.
Led by U-M’s Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute and supported by The Kresge Foundation with $600,000 in matching funds, the three-year project seeks to strengthen the science and decision-making necessary for more effective urban climate adaptation in the Great Lakes region, in both Canada and the United States. Researchers, staff, students and stakeholders from across the region will collaborate to make this happen.
While there is abundant research on climate change at national and global scales, there is a gap in regionally focused adaptation planning for effectively addressing this pressing issue. The Great Lakes project is helping to fill this gap by providing the place-based information needed for developing and improving policy decisions and infrastructure investments.—Arun Agrawal, professor of natural resources and environment and co-principal investigator for the project
The project will generate datasets, tools, and a network of stakeholders that will be useful for decision makers in private and government sectors, said Don Scavia, director of the Graham Institute and co-principal investigator on the project. In addition to the information amassed by participating researchers, a significant amount of data will be harnessed from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA)—a collaboration between U-M, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and Michigan Sea Grant, which is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As part of the project, researchers will work closely with urban leaders in five Great Lakes cities to build a network of decision-makers and scientists invested in the sustainability of Great Lakes cities. One of the first cities confirmed to participate in the program is Grand Rapids, whose mayor, George Heartwell, attended an initial project-scoping meeting at U-M in October 2010.
Other U-M faculty involved with the project include: Elisabeth Gerber, School of Public Policy; Larissa Larsen, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Maria Lemos, School of Natural Resources and Environment; Marie O’Neill, School of Public Health; and Ricky Rood, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences. SNRE postdoctoral fellow Ahmad Safi is also working on the project.