Smart and Healthy Cities

CURIE Research Project: Smart and Healthy Cities

CTECH was proud to host the 2018 “Smart and Healthy Cities” activity as part of the Cornell College of Engineering Diversity Program’s CURIE Academy.

48 dynamic junior and senior female high school students participated in this one-week summer residential program intended to advance women in engineering and its related disciplines. In addition to making new friends and experiencing life on a university campus, these students listened to lectures on how urban infrastructure provides critical services for the health, economic well-being, and security of modern communities, and represents one of the defining characteristics of the modern world. Stress in the physical infrastructure is reflected in structural deterioration and interruption of service from increased exposure to both natural and anthropogenic hazards including environmental pollution. Physical infrastructure and interdependent social, economic, and environmental systems are also stressed by population growth, social inequities, and the institutional barriers to integrated and intelligent infrastructure management. The social, economic, and political dimensions of urban life are intimately tied to functional infrastructure.

In the meantime, natural resources and environments have become a scarce commodity and have thus posed a challenge which civilization must confront to enable healthy living, economic growth, safety and security. This relates to issues such as water, air quality, transportation and energy efficiency, which are all driven by increasing world population growth and urbanization, accompanied by decreasing natural resources. Stressors such as environmental pollution, natural resource depletion, and climate change impose special challenges for sustainability. For instance, in the last century the US ground transportation fleet expanded from 450,000 vehicles in 1910 to 200 million vehicles clocking 2.5 trillion vehicle miles today. It is projected that by 2050 US vehicle-miles-traveled will grow to 4.8 trillion miles. A similar trend is true in many other countries worldwide. Transportation-related air pollution (e.g., ground-level ozone and particulate matter (PM) pollution) is an issue of significant importance. The World Health Organization estimates that urban air pollution causes 200,000 deaths per year worldwide and that it will be responsible for 8 million premature deaths between the years 2000 and 2020.

During the CTECH CURIE, Cornell University’s world-class faculty, staff and graduate students led participants in classes, lab sessions, and research projects. Social events, panel discussions, and other out-of-classroom activities provided participants with opportunities to network informally with each other as well as with Cornell faculty, staff, and students.