Equitable Communities and the Built Environment

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Designing for Life

Through a better understanding of the built environment – our cities, homes, and infrastructure – and its relationship to equity and justice, we can develop and implement better design choices and policies that can support a sustainable future and foster inclusive communities.

Sustainable Development

The United Nations projects that nearly 70% of the world’s populations will live in cities by 2050. Across the globe, the trend toward urbanization is driving resource needs and impacts with water, food, and energy while disparately impacting low income/minority populations.  

To that end, determining and implementing sustainable, healthy, and affordable solutions for urban areas is essential and urgent.

Moreover, it will require extensive interdisciplinary collaboration to adequately meet the needs of infrastructure, planning, finance, energy, engineering, transportation, utilities, and more.

Penn State has a strong history of innovative built environment solutions, and researchers continue to focus on creating equitable communities.

Working together and across disciplines, researchers from Penn State and beyond are are redefining the future of cities and the built environment through investigations of living materials, adaptive architecture, and dynamic infrastructure.

Equitable Communities and the Built Environment Research


Featured IEE Researchers

Professor, John and Willie Leone Department of Energy & Mineral Engineering (EME)
Associate Professor, Ecosystem Science and Management

Equitable Communities and the Built Environment News

Featured Stories

Emerging research areas refocus Institute of Energy and the Environment themes

| psu.edu

The Institute of Energy and the Environment has revamped its research themes to better align them with the energy and environmental research being done at Penn State and to recognize the importance of community and justice.

2024 Climate Solutions Symposium registration open

| psu.edu

Registration is open for the 2024 Climate Solutions Symposium, which is designed to bring people together to stimulate projects and partnerships where Penn State’s interdisciplinary research strengths can inform and transform climate solutions.

Low Carbon Building Program

Accelerating emission reductions through building renovations targeting energy efficiency, energy burdens, health, and expanded workforce for diverse communities.

Emissions from buildings reached the highest ever recorded levels in 2019. The current renovation rates of 1% annually could lock-in most existing buildings in a high carbon emissions future. Barriers include lack of awareness, affordability, and inadequate supply of skilled workforce. These barriers hit low-income households the hardest, particularly those with seniors and people with disabilities.

Learn more about the Low Carbon Building Program