Topic: Tecnología e instrumentos

A man looks at a flooded area from a helicopter

Recovery and Resilience: New Research on Exploratory Scenario Planning for Disasters

By Jon Gorey, Mayo 9, 2024

When heavy rains unload on Beaumont, Texas—which is to say, pretty often, in this small Gulf Coast city 80 miles east of Houston—flash flooding can turn the underpasses beneath train tracks and bridges into unpassable, sewage-laden lakes, as pump systems get overwhelmed.

It’s a citywide issue, but it’s especially problematic in Beaumont’s historic South End. Ringed on three sides by heavy industrial facilities—including a 2,400-acre ExxonMobil refinery and chemical plant, the 100-acre Port of Beaumont, and a facility that holds thousands of rail cars—such inundation can essentially leave residents and workers stranded in the neighborhood, with no way out.

“We’ve always had an issue where our underpasses flood, and so we’re trapped without access to emergency medical facilities,” says Christopher Jones, founder and director of the South End Charlton-Pollard Greater Historic Community Association. “During events like Harvey or Imelda, we’re trapped within that industrial horseshoe.”

The prospect of getting stranded by an everyday downpour creates anxiety for residents, as well as tangible health hazards. “Our streets fill up with sewer and rainwater, and there’s no cleanup that happens afterward, whether it’s from the city or the state of Texas,” Jones says. “Then that sewage matter dries up and becomes an airborne pathogen that we breathe,” along with other pollutants, such as limestone dust, sulfur, and petrochemical byproducts produced or transported nearby. Indeed, between the dangerous chemicals in nearby rail cars and refineries, its hurricane-prone location, and the increasing frequency of extreme heat waves, flooded roadways are hardly the only disaster-related risk facing the Charlton-Pollard neighborhood.

So when Jones heard about a request for proposals issued by the Lincoln Institute’s Consortium for Scenario Planning (CSP), he proposed a series of exploratory scenario planning workshops that would gather ideas and input from community members, city officials, emergency agencies, and local businesses, to formulate and prioritize resilience strategies.

The review committee found the Beaumont proposal unique and compelling for a couple of different reasons, says Heather Hannon, associate director of planning practice and scenario planning at the Lincoln Institute. “It’s the first community organization awarded through this process,” Hannon says, as opposed to a municipal department, planning agency, or research team. What’s more, the proposal specifically focuses on the “dual-threat landscape” of both natural and man-made disasters.

The neighborhood is well aware of the “escalating risks posed by climate change, industrial accidents, and other man-made hazards,” Jones explained in his proposal. “Our community’s proximity to a dense concentration of industrial operations elevates the risk of chemical spills, industrial explosions, and air quality emergencies, in addition to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and severe weather events.”

Jones says the old housing stock in his neighborhood isn’t very suitable for sheltering in place, whether it’s during a storm or a chemical spill. “My neighborhood dates back to the 1800s, and many of the homes here are, if not the same age as ExxonMobil, a little bit older.” Many of those homes lack the kind of weatherization upgrades—insulation, storm windows, air sealing—that would better protect them from storms and air quality issues.

“I definitely want my neighbors to have the opportunity to not only weatherize their homes, but to be able to seek safety and shelter inside of their homes if there’s anything like an explosion from ExxonMobil,” Jones says. When a series of chemical explosions rocked a TPC plant in nearby Port Neches in 2019, “We felt it—we smelled it,” Jones says.

“So if we were to experience something like, God forbid, a big waste of benzene, everybody here is [in serious trouble], because they don’t have the knowledge or adequate facilities to shelter in place,” he adds. “And that includes schools that are in our area, businesses in our neighborhood, elders . . . that, to me, is our starting point for our resilience.”

Smoke from an explosion at a chemical refinery in Texas
Aftermath of a series of explosions at a TPC Group chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, in 2019. The initial blast was felt up to 30 miles away, and the explosions caused $153 million in offsite property damage. Credit: US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

The South End Charlton-Pollard project is one of five that the Consortium for Scenario Planning has chosen to support in response to the RFP. From Colombia to Canada, each project will design exploratory scenario planning workshops focused on disaster recovery and resilience. The awardees will have the opportunity to present and describe their work in early 2025 at the annual Consortium for Scenario Planning conference.

Awardees are tasked with designing workshops that use exploratory scenario planning (XSP) to help members of their community—which could be a neighborhood, city, or entire region—explore disaster recovery and resilience strategies. Applicants were encouraged to address both one-off disasters as well as those that are part of a larger cycle of “cascading hazards, where the effects of one disaster bleed into or cause another”—such as droughts that contribute to wildfires or landslides, or floods that destroy homes and then trigger sanitation crises.

In addition to the XSP workshops that the South End Charlton-Pollard Greater Historic Community Association will design and conduct in Beaumont, CSP selected four other proposals to support:

  • Building off its recent completion of a participatory climate risk assessment, the Rural Municipality of Piney in Manitoba, Canada, will use a seven-step XSP framework to develop workshops and educational resources to help the region better prepare for a spectrum of disasters, particularly wildfires.
  • Casa del Sur/Encuentro in Santa Fe, Argentina, will focus on building resiliency awareness among vulnerable citizens, who have been affected by both record floods and record lows of the Paraná River, urban heat, and fires in the past two decades.
  • A team from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, will develop a framework for rural communities to plan for and adapt to sea level rise flooding and increased storm flooding impacts, using rural Virginia as the target audience and a special emphasis on nature-based features.
  • A team from the Urban Mapping Agency, BuroDAP, and Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia, will conduct XSP workshops with a special focus on vulnerable communities and informal settlements facing flood risk in the urban peripheries of two major cities—Policarpa in Cartagena, and the Tunjuelo River floodplain in Bogotá.

All five projects, scheduled to be completed by May 2025, were selected as part of an annual RFP process managed by the Consortium for Scenario Planning. Past projects have focused on housing affordability (2023), changing food systems (2022), climate strategies (2021), and equity and low-growth scenarios (2020).

To learn more about all Lincoln Institute RFPs, fellowships, and research opportunities, visit the research and data section of our website.


Jon Gorey is staff writer at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Lead image: A member of the Coast Guard inspects flooding in Beaumont, Texas, as part of a search and rescue mission after Hurricane Harvey. Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Giles/US Coast Guard/US Department of Defense.

Lincoln Vibrant Communities Fellows Program

Submission Deadline: June 11, 2024 at 11:59 PM

The deadline for submitting applications has been extended to Friday, June 14, 2024 (11:59 p.m. EST, UTC-5).

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Claremont Lincoln University are seeking the inaugural cohort of fellows for the Lincoln Vibrant Communities initiative. Over the next decade, the Lincoln Institute, a globally recognized nonprofit operating foundation, and Claremont Lincoln University, an accredited private nonprofit university, will partner with municipalities in the US to address common, complex challenges facing counties and cities. The fellows program focuses on investing in leadership, policy, and advanced public sector practice skills to engage municipalities in building vibrant, engaged communities marked by trust and agency for positive change.

Who Should Apply

  • Current, emerging, and aspiring public sector leaders
  • Community leaders working with the public sector
  • Business and industry leaders working with the public sector

See application guidelines for more details and how to apply.


Details

Submission Deadline
June 11, 2024 at 11:59 PM
Grabaciones de webinarios y eventos

Scenario Planning for Housing Affordability: Peer Exchange with evolveEA

Junio 4, 2024 | 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EDT, UTC-4)

Offered in inglés

Watch the Recording


This peer exchange will focus on evolveEA’s work on scenario planning and housing affordability for the Consortium’s 2023 RFP cycle. We’ll be discussing their process as well as their experience using scenario planning to create future-based plans in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

This event is eligible for 1 CM credit from AICP.

All times are in Eastern Time.


Details

Date
Junio 4, 2024
Time
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EDT, UTC-4)
Registration Period
Abril 18, 2024 - Junio 4, 2024
Language
inglés

Keywords

vivienda, planificación, planificación de escenarios

Course

Scenario Planning for Urban Futures Course

Mayo 20, 2024 - Mayo 22, 2024

Offered in inglés


In partnership with Nexus at Michigan Engineering, this course is available both in person in Ann Arbor and as a three-day remote live session via Zoom. Participants will learn to appropriately foster urban progress for future scenarios through effective planning methods and gain hands-on knowledge of techniques to analyze trends, construct scenario narratives, and model scenarios using GIS tools. Upon course completion, students will have concrete ideas for implementing scenarios in their communities.

Scenario Planning for Urban Futures is intended for a varied audience. Early-career planning professionals, experienced scenario planning practitioners, master’s level, and PhD urban planning students, applied researchers, and consultants are all encouraged to attend.


Speakers

Heather Hannon

Cambridge, Massachusetts


Details

Date
Mayo 20, 2024 - Mayo 22, 2024
Time
9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Application Period
Enero 1, 2024 - Mayo 20, 2024
Language
inglés
Educational Credit Type
AICP CM credits

Keywords

planificación de escenarios

Center for Geospatial Solutions

Internet of Water

In March 2022, the Lincoln Institute launched the Internet of Water Initiative at CGS to help modernize and connect water-related data in the United States from thousands of different sources to enable better decisions, ultimately making communities more sustainable and resilient. The Internet of Water Initiative will significantly expand the suite of tools CGS is developing.

The initiative continues a project that began in 2018 at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions, which will continue to play a key role as a partner in the new Internet of Water Coalition.

In its next phase, the initiative will focus on further developing novel, open-source technology that will enable users to discover and access water data in a new way. Also, the initiative will focus on two specific uses of the Internet of Water: improving community access to data about sustainable hydropower opportunities and improving access to utility information to improve water quality and water equity.

View the Website

article

The Internet of Water Initiative Will Help Policy Makers Address Climate Change

In the battle to confront drought, flooding, pollution, and other water-related challenges made worse by climate change, information is perhaps the most important weapon. How much water does a particular location contain? What is the quality? How is it used? Answering such questions is the mission of the Lincoln Institute’s new Internet of Water Initiative—so named because it will do for water what the internet did for real estate, weather forecasts, and countless other sources of data.

Read the Article
Headshot of Lindsay Relihan

Fellows in Focus: Exploring the New Economics of Downtown

By Jon Gorey, Marzo 15, 2024

 

The Lincoln Institute provides a variety of early- and mid-career opportunities for researchers. In this series, we follow up with our fellows to learn more about their work.

After earning her PhD in applied economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 2018, Lindsay Relihan was invited to join the Lincoln Institute Scholars program, an opportunity for recent PhDs focused on public finance or urban economics to work with senior academics and journal editors. Now an assistant professor of economics at Purdue University, Relihan has lately focused her work on the question of how remote work is reshaping downtown retail—with many stores following their customers to the suburbs or smaller cities. In this interview, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, Relihan shares what intrigues her about the retail industry and why she’s still bullish on the future of cities.

JON GOREY: What is the focus of your research and the work you presented at the Lincoln Scholars program?

LINDSAY RELIHAN: Broadly speaking, my research agenda is about trying to understand how technology is reshaping cities.

The job market paper I presented at the Lincoln Institute is all about the rise of online retail, and how online retail was reshaping consumer shopping patterns. The big lesson there is that we often tell this ‘retail apocalypse’ story about online retail, where Amazon opens up and all the bookstores and other kinds of goods stores close. And that’s actually true—but it’s a very limited view of what online retail is doing to the economy, and to the retail economy specifically.

What I find in my work is that when people become online grocery shoppers, they go to the grocery store less, which is that classic substitution effect that we always talk about. But one thing they can do is turn around and use all that time savings from going to the grocery store to go somewhere else instead. And that’s what I find they do: they go to the grocery store less, but they go out to restaurants more. So restaurants can win from the rise of online retail, being something you can do with that extra time that you can’t replicate online. It’s not just restaurants . . . they go out to more salons, and they go out to more entertainment venues, like theaters or bowling alleys, those kinds of things that you can’t do online.

JG: What are you working on now, and what do you have planned next?

LR: Most of the story about work-from-home has focused initially on what it’s doing to things like office real estate. But retail is a big part of the economy, and it’s tied to both where you live and where you work. So if you go into the downtown office less, well, maybe you don’t go to Chipotle for lunch, and maybe you don’t go to happy hour after work, or you don’t go out for coffee—that’s a big part of downtown commerce.

If you’re instead having lunch at home, the question is: Do you go to Chipotle in the suburbs? In which case, Chipotles might just change where they locate. Or, because it’s a lot easier just to make a sandwich, do you just stay home, and that restaurant visit just disappears entirely? We find that people are leaving downtowns for the suburbs, and sometimes we also see people leaving big cities for smaller cities. That’s happening. But these retail establishments are also following the people, in a way that intuition would suggest.

With fewer workers commuting regularly to major urban downtowns, some businesses have expanded into smaller cities and suburbs, including the regional restaurant chain Dig. The company opened its first freestanding restaurant last year in a former diner in Stamford, Connecticut, part of a broader expansion of its reach. “For us to be sustainable as a business, we had to be where the mouths are,” said CEO Tracy Kim. Credit: PJ Kennedy/HeyStamford!.

In that original paper, I ignored the supply side as if stores were not changing anything about their strategies, but we have good intuition and our everyday experience to expect that grocery stores should do something else to compete. And so we’re going to try and figure out what does that response look like? Are they going to change their product offerings, are they going to change their prices, are they going to change where their stores are? So we’re going to try and really trace out that supply side response.

JG: What sparked your interest in studying retail?

LR: It was recognizing that retail is this large, less explored aspect of commercial real estate. And I feel like it speaks to the way that people live their everyday lives, and that’s why I really like it.

I actually came to studying real estate and urban economics through an interest in the residential housing market. I worked with Chip Case at Wellesley, who developed one of the canonical models of house price indices, and I went to work at the Federal Reserve after undergrad and worked in their housing and real estate finance section, and then I went to Wharton to work on housing. And one day, my dissertation chair called me into his office, and—in his French accent—he was like, ‘Lindsay, you cannot be Miss Mortgage, you have to branch out.’ And I was like, okay, fair, but this other thing I’m interested in is still about the everyday of people’s lives, but how space shapes people’s consumption decisions, and the distributional consequences of that.

JG: What do you wish more people knew about economics?

LR: What I say to my undergrads when I’m teaching is the most beautiful economics is something that was obvious in retrospect—that says something true about the way the world works, and illuminates something new to you about the way that the world works in a very intuitive way . . . I think the best example from my work is when you shop online, you get more time, then you can do something else. Good economics makes concrete a lot of our really strong intuitions that will help us to understand how the world is really working so we can make better policy.

Something else I wish people knew is that economics is extremely nonpartisan, when it feels like everything else in the world is super partisan. It’s really about trying to understand people’s incentives and how we should distribute resources to achieve some kind of policy goal, and I think it’s very powerful in uniting people who maybe have very different personal opinions about a lot of things to speak a common language about tools and objectives.

JG: When it comes to your work, what keeps you up at night? And what gives you hope?

LR: During the housing boom of the 2000s, there was a big move away from the traditional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, toward mortgages that had teaser rates, or interest-only periods, or that could negatively amortize—they just had very exotic, nontraditional features that could allow you to have a cheaper mortgage payment every month than you could get on a standard contract. And what my research on that time period says is that a lot of that was really driven by this need by private banks and lenders who were packaging mortgage-backed securities to continue originating mortgages despite increasing interest rates after about 2003.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that in the current economic climate. We were puzzled back in the mid-2000s—interest rates are rising, why aren’t house prices falling?—and we actually have a very similar situation and discussion today. I think a lot about where in the system we are allowing mortgages to continue to get made, and whether those new mortgages being made today are risky in ways that are reminiscent of what happened in the 2000s.

[What gives me hope is that] every time we’ve had a technology shock, cities as a whole have come out on top. I mean, that’s not to say that individual cities can’t rise and fall . . . but I have hope overall. Every time we invent a new technology that allows easier communication across space, people predict the death of cities. They invented the telegraph, and people were like, ‘Distance doesn’t matter, so cities will disappear,’ or they invented the telephone, and they were like, ‘Cities don’t matter, we can just call each other, why would we ever need to be in person?’ The internet was the same way. And through all of those episodes, cities did the exact opposite, they got denser and became more valuable places to live; what changed was why people wanted to live there, and why cities were super valuable. I think both online retail and work from home have a good chance of following that path. So I am definitely part of the faction that bets long on cities.

JG: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

LR: Something I’ve been really into lately is trying to revisit lessons in philosophy. And one book that I read recently that really spoke to me as an urban economist was The Just City by Jo Walton. It’s a science fiction novel that imagines what would happen if you actually tried to set up Plato’s Republic by stealing people from across time that ever wished aloud to live there, and trying to run it in accordance with the way that Plato set down as being the way that cities should be run. So they put up a city that’s just like Plato’s prescription, and then of course, things get very interesting and run amok in ways that I thought were great.


Related Articles

Fellows in Focus: Rethinking Stormwater Management in the West

Fellows in Focus: Building Affordable Homeownership Opportunities in New Orleans

Fellows in Focus: Mapping Our Most Resilient Landscapes


Jon Gorey is a staff writer at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Lead image: Lindsay Relihan. Credit: Courtesy photo.

Two people sit on a square of white paint in a paved parking lot
Tecnociudad

Getting Smart About Surfaces

Rob Walker, Febrero 27, 2024

 

A few years ago, the city of San Antonio conducted research into the anticipated impacts of climate change on local temperatures. The study projected that, by midcentury, the city might experience 61 days a year with temperatures over 100 degrees. In reality, the city notched 75 days over 100 degrees—in 2023.

Like many cities, San Antonio has been strategizing responses to climate change for years, but recent record-shattering temperatures have given such efforts a new sense of urgency, says Douglas Melnick, San Antonio’s chief sustainability officer. One major component that’s been getting a serious rethink: city surfaces, from roads to roofs. These human-made surfaces are often dark and impermeable, amplifying hot weather, worsening flood risks, and contributing to the heat island effect. But soaring global temperatures are sparking a wave of experiments with new materials and engineering innovations designed to reimagine surface problems as deep opportunities.

Pavement is a particular focus for San Antonio and many other cities, because it’s hot and there’s a lot of it: researchers estimate that it accounts for 30 to 40 percent of urban land cover. After an initial “very small” pilot in 2021 experimenting with a reflective pavement coating, San Antonio embarked on a $1 million project that will test five such materials in various parts of town, Melnick says. The streets were selected based on data related to equity and heat, and the work is being integrated into already-scheduled maintenance and repaving projects; the city will work with the University of Texas San Antonio to evaluate the results.

A similar effort is underway in Phoenix, a city “on the front lines of extreme heat,” as David Sailor, professor and director of the school of geographical sciences and urban planning at Arizona State University, puts it. The city was an early proponent of rethinking surfaces, launching a major Cool Pavement Pilot Program three years ago. But even in this notoriously hot place, efforts have accelerated lately: ASU has been involved as a research and advisory partner in a city-led project that has treated more than 100 miles of local roads with reflective coatings. “This is something that would not have happened five years ago,” Sailor says, “and it’s increasingly happening across different cities.”

The Phoenix Street Transportation Department has applied a water-based cool pavement treatment in neighborhoods across the city. Credit: City of Phoenix.

Los Angeles has introduced a number of pilot programs, including one in the Pacoima neighborhood testing a reflective coating on streets, a school playground, and a recreation center parking lot. Researchers at Purdue University, meanwhile, have developed and are preparing for market the “world’s whitest paint,” which reflects 98 percent of solar heat and could be used on buildings, trains and buses, and other surfaces. A number of US cities are offering tax incentives for reflective roofs. Others have installed green roofs, topping waterproofing material with plants and other greenery that can be both cooling and absorb rainfall. And smaller projects are popping up all over the world, like parking lot solar canopies that provide shade and generate energy; corrugated self-cooling walls that stay as much as 18 degrees cooler than flat walls and can help reduce the need for air conditioning; and innovative, affordable cool-roofing materials for informal and self-built structures in India, Africa, and elsewhere.

The idea that governmental will to address extreme heat is expanding—and municipal funding is growing along with it—is spurring more material innovation in the market, says Sailor of ASU. He notes the creation of new, acrylic-based asphalt treatments. Because lighter colors can show tire markings, demand has also led to the development of a coatings that are dark in the visible spectrum but engineered to have high reflectance outside that spectrum, and reflect 30 to 40 percent of the sun’s energy, compared to 4 percent on a standard road. Other materials getting their moment in the sun include new kinds of coating for extruded metal roofing; reflective, porous concrete; and passive radiative cooling film engineered to actively radiate heat away from surfaces (instead of simply reflecting it, as coatings do). ASU is testing such products from giants like 3M as well as smaller startups.

But the real breakthrough isn’t any single material or innovation, says Greg Kats, founder and CEO of the Smart Surfaces Coalition (SSC)—it’s the sheer variety of projects afoot, and a new willingness to “think broadly and citywide” about surfaces. Launched in 2019, SSC is now working with some 40 organizations and 10 cities and metropolitan areas across the country, providing data and tools to help implement smart surfaces effectively. “The city has gotten hotter and darker and more impermeable, with higher energy bills, more environmental injustice,” Kats says. “A lot of cities have really reached a point where they’re looking for systemic solutions.” Kats notes that there are fiscal motivations, too: major credit rating agencies have begun to factor climate change into their calculations, which could affect municipal credit ratings.

Kats and other smart surface advocates emphasize that tech-based materials must be complemented by trees and other natural solutions. Brendan Shane, climate director for the Trust for Public Land, which focuses on creating and enhancing parks and green spaces in cities and communities (and works with SSC), argues that smart surfaces and green infrastructure go naturally together. “Our tree canopies are at historic low levels,” he points out. But they are part of a city’s surface area, and “the surface of the city is one of those things that really does change. You’re going to repave roads. And you’re going to replant trees.”

Daytime surface temperatures (represented by the solid orange line above) tend to be far hotter than air temperatures (orange dotted line), especially in downtowns and industrial areas. Credit: US EPA.

The coalition hopes to help cities devise multi-pronged but locally tailored approaches, Kats says, through improved data synthesis and analysis. SSC is already working with a dozen US cities, and two in India, to compile data from hundreds of sources, producing detailed heat maps from satellite data and other information, and running cost/benefit scenarios on different implementations and timelines. The goal is to be both comprehensive and flexible, given that a dry city like Stockton, California, will have different needs and solutions than a wetter city like Baltimore. Whatever a given city’s objective, Kats asserts that with a full suite of responses—smart reflective surfaces, trees, and green infrastructure projects like rain gardens—the vast majority of cities can cool average temperatures by five degrees, or even more in previously neglected heat island neighborhoods.

Back in San Antonio, plans are taking shape to use heat-mapping technology to identify the neighborhoods that would most benefit from municipal investments in cool pavement, street trees, and shade structures. The wake-up call of recent extreme weather, Melnick says, has created a real opportunity for coordinated, citywide plans. “Cities tend to be very siloed. The parks department’s doing trees over here, and then the public works department is doing roads over there,” he says. “Everyone’s got a role in mitigating heat, but how do we get everybody talking together?”

As technologies evolve and the world’s cities continue to grow, investing in solutions to create cooler, more livable cities—and working together to implement them—is essential, Kats says: “Waiting is now a higher-risk strategy than taking action.”


Rob Walker is a journalist covering design, technology, and other subjects. He is the author of The Art of Noticing. His newsletter is at robwalker.substack.com.

Lead image: Researchers measure the reflectivity of cool pavement coatings at Berkeley Lab. Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab, ©The Regents of the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Center for Geospatial Solutions

Established in 2020, the Center for Geospatial Solutions (CGS) works to ensure that organizations of all sizes have access to data and advanced technologies to improve decision-making for land and water conservation, climate action, and other efforts to promote social equity. We extract better insights from data through a combination of geographic information systems (GIS), earth observations, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics. We deliver products and services that support decision-making, track impacts, and tell powerful stories.

 

“The Center for Geospatial Solutions is moving the global environmental field forward to meet ambitious goals set forth by scientists to save and restore our planet.”

—Jack Dangermond, President and CEO of Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri)

Our Work

Geospatial technology enables users to combine and analyze datasets to understand complex interactions and decide where and how to act. Adjacent to the core technologies of GIS and Remote Sensing are a variety of other technologies, such as artificial intelligence, field data collection tools, and advanced analytics, that can help people extract more and better insights from data.

We discovered that many people and organizations still cannot access complete or consistent data or use advanced datasets and analytic capabilities when necessary. The Center for Geospatial Solutions was founded to overcome this barrier.

Our team will support your organization to frame the relevant questions, gain a more holistic understanding of the issues you face, and make an action plan. We will ensure you have ready access to the highest-quality data and tools you need.

Case Study: Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the leading land conservation organization in Canada. Since 1962, the nonprofit and its partners have helped protect more than 35 million acres (14 million hectares) across Canada. NCC is working with us to develop a long-term technology strategy that streamlines data collection and management across the organization and allows all of its programs to leverage the latest technology to improve conservation prioritization, securement, and management. This strategy is helping reduce the time it takes staff to effectively manage properties and communicate key metrics to outside partners and funders. Access to better technology is also making it easier for NCC to effectively leverage new revenue sources, such as carbon offsets, by quantifying and capitalizing on the ecological benefits of land conservation.

Learn About the Nature Conservancy of Canada

Internet of Water Initiative

In March 2022, the Lincoln Institute launched the Internet of Water Initiative at CGS to help modernize and connect water-related data in the United States from thousands of different sources to enable better decisions, ultimately making communities more sustainable and resilient. The Internet of Water Initiative will significantly expand the suite of tools CGS is developing.

Learn More About the Internet of Water

Featured Resources

Work With Us

Everything we do seeks to advance social and climate justice. With a mindset open to learning, we want to fully realize equity and inclusion through our partnerships, our work, and our organization. We believe that when these values are applied, data, science, and technology are powerful tools, enabling everyone to act effectively and with equal responsibility to all stakeholders.

Learn More About Working With Us

Our Experts

Anne Scott

Executive Director, Center for Geospatial Solutions

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Faith Sternlieb

Associate Director of Engagement, Internet of Water

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

Jeff Allenby

Director of Geospatial Innovation, Center for Geospatial Solutions

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

John Paul “JP” Miller

Director of Environmental Strategies, Center for Geospatial Solutions

Kyle Onda

Director, Internet of Water, Center for Geospatial Solutions

Reina Chano Murray

Associate Director, Center for Geospatial Solutions

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Center for Geospatial Solutions

Advisory Council

Nick Dilks, Mei-Po Kwan, Bonnie Lei, Kathryn Lincoln, Peter Stein, Holt Thrasher, Dawn Wright