Technology & Design Innovations


Disruptive technologies can positively affect environment, health, wellbeing, and livability outcomes, but often only when supported by appropriate policy instruments. Similarly, innovative design can advance sustainability outcomes in urban areas, but it requires the successful coupling of social and infrastructure solutions integrated across home-, neighborhood- & city-regional scales.

The network’s research activities on technology and design innovation seek to understand how distributed infrastructures should be designed and implemented to maximize sustainability outcomes in a complex socio-technical world. Network researchers are designing integrated models of distributed infrastructure to tie user behaviors to the design of biophysical infrastructures across scales. These same integrated models can help us understand how disruptive infrastructure technologies (e.g., autonomous vehicles for personal travel) will affect sustainability outcomes.

The research seeks to yield design principles that can advance the science of designing coupled social-infrastructural solutions. Similarly, the research seeks to bolster capacity for technical innovation, business innovation, and environmental adaptation among infrastructure designers & operators.


Future Energy Scenarios with Distributed Technology Options for Residential City Blocks in Three Climate Regions of the United States

  • February 2019
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Author: Multiple

Yuan, S., Stainsby, W., Li, M., Xu, K., Waite, M., Zimmerle, D., Feiock, R.,  Ramaswami, A., & Modi, V. (2019). Future energy scenarios with distributed technology options for residential city blocks … Read more

Urban Tree Pit Design Factors for Stormwater Management Performance

  • July 2018
  • Journal Brief
  • Author: Multiple

Street trees in the urban environment provide important ecosystem services including stormwater management, reducing pollutant discharges and flooding by lessening surface runoff. Does the design of an urban tree pit … Read more

Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Transitions in the ASEAN Region: A Resource Perspective (UN Environment and Sustainable Healthy Cities collaboration)

  • February 2018
  • Report
  • Author: Multiple

The ASEAN nations are a hot spot for rapid urbanization over the next 30 years: Between 2015 and 2050, ASEAN cities are projected to add 205 million new urban residents … Read more

The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization (International Resource Panel report with Sustainable Healthy Cities contributing authors)

  • February 2018
  • Report
  • Author: Multiple

Over the next 30 years, an additional 2.4 billion people are likely to be added to the global urban population. This increase in population will result in a significant expansion … Read more

Stormwater Infiltration Capacity of Street Tree Pits: Quantifying the influence of different design and management strategies in New York City

  • February 2018
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Author: Multiple

Elliott, R.M., Adkins, E.R., Culligan, P.L., & M.I. Palmer. (2018). “Stormwater infiltration capacity of street tree pits: Quantifying the influence of different design and management strategies in New York City.” … Read more

Public Funding for Energy Research and Development

  • December 2017
  • Podcast
  • Author: Gabe Chan

Effective decision making to allocate public funds for energy technology research, development, and demonstration (R&D) requires considering alternative investment opportunities that can have large but highly uncertain returns and a … Read more

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