Energy & the Environment

Accelerating energy consumption, resource extraction and the demands of a growing global population have put stress on the natural environment causing climate change, deforestation, ecosystem damage, and polluted natural environments. The impact of environmental degradation is not evenly absorbed across nations, regions, or communities and often, marginalized groups most ill-equipped to cope with environmental issues bear the greatest burdens.

GCI’s Energy and the Environment Research Cluster supports research pertaining to local and global issues of environmental justice, natural resource preservation, the relationship between the natural and built environment, and policies that promote a sustainable future. GCI’s work on Energy and the Environment considers the ramifications of environmental degradation and supports progressive policies that promote environmental justice and the strengthening of communities’ capacities to steward safe and sustainable environments.

Sustainable Coastal Community Development Initiative

The Sustainable Coastal Community Development initiative of the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program supports and guides this GCI program, providing academic research and technical assistance to local governments and planning agencies within northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana.

GCI Fellow and associate professor of Urban Planning and Policy, Martin Jaffe, is the principal investigator and coordinator of this research and is working in collaboration with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, non-profit organizations (such as Chicago Wilderness, the Metropolitan Planning Council, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology), as well as federal, state and local officials. Sea Grant’s Sustainable Coastal Community Development initiative addresses a wide variety of emerging environmental issues affecting the Chicago metro area, such as regional water supply planning, innovative approaches to water quality management (including the use of computer models to identify environmental “tipping points” for urban waterways), the use of green infrastructure for urban stormwater management, habitat protection, and climate change adaptation at the state, regional and local levels of government. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant is committed to both protecting and enhancing the wide range of environmental and ecosystem services provided to communities in the lower Lake Michigan basin.

Feasibility & Efficiency Analysis of Neighborhood-Based Sustainable Food Waste Management

In “Feasibility & Efficiency Analysis of Neighborhood-Based Sustainable Food Waste Management” Professors Ning Ai and Isabel Cruz compare data from previous food waste studies conducted at UIC and across the Chicago metropolitan region, integrating state-of-art knowledge from the distinct fields of urban planning and computer science.  Their comparison includes a consideration of differences in the methodologies of these studies in order to further refine models and parameters for future studies.  In addition, they expand Dr. Cruz’s framework for spatial and temporal data integration, GIVA, in order to address the unique challenges of the project.