Urban Systems

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Building with Life in Mind

With cities growing and more people moving to urban areas, the need to find and implement sustainable, healthy, and affordable solutions are essential and urgent. Penn State researchers collaborate across disciplines to identify and implement solutions on a global scale.

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 urban solutions, and researchers continue to focus on the needs of cities and how to move them ahead to meet the global demand.

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.

Urban Systems Research


Featured IEE Researchers

Professor, Architectural Engineering
Assistant Professor, John and Willie Leone Department of Energy & Mineral Engineering (EME)

Urban Systems News

Featured Stories

Penn State Harrisburg team investigates the cause, impact of Middletown flooding

| psu.edu

Through a $120,000 Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Clark, along with Anthony Buccitelli, associate professor of American studies and communications, and Jeffrey Tolbert, assistant professor of American studies and folklore, are pursuing an interdisciplinary research project combining engineering and ethnography to examine flooding in the Middletown community.

Mentions: Shirley Clark

Energy, environmental seed grants awarded to interdisciplinary research teams

| psu.edu

The 19 interdisciplinary research teams that received funding include more than 75 researchers who are affiliated with 10 colleges and research units across seven Penn State campuses.

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