The Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems’ Work in China
Jul 29, 2016 — Atlanta, GA
China is urbanizing at an unprecedented level. Highways, energy grids, water treatment facilities, indeed, entire cities seem to be springing forth from the Chinese landscape. One of our main topics for research at the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems is what we call Infrastructure Ecology. It is becoming obvious to many that the way we have been building infrastructure is not sustainable. At the same time, much of the infrastructure in the developed world is nearing the end of its designed lifespan. Urbanized lifestyles are not going away, in fact, they are accelerating. It stands to reason, then, that we need new ways to think about how we build, operate, maintain, and inhabit our cities.
For BBISS researchers, the explosion of urban growth in China presents a unique opportunity to propose, design, test, and build more sustainable infrastructure systems whose elements behave more like organisms within an ecological system than machines along a conveyor belt. Please take a look at a survey of BBISS’s work, past and present in China.
- BBISS director, John C. Crittenden, helped to organize and will be delivering a plenary talk at the upcoming International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI). The conference will be held in Shenzhen, China from October 17th – 19th, 2016.
- A paper was recently published in The Journal of Cleaner Production by BBISS researchers in collaboration with colleagues in China entitled, “Courtyard Integrated Ecological System: An Ecological Engineering Practice in China and its Economic-Environmental Benefit.” This paper analyzes the ecological and financial benefits of integrating energy, water and waste flows into household scale hydroponic, aquaponics, solar, grey/blackwater, compost, and agricultural systems.
- $1 Million Joint US – China Study on Sustainable Steel Manufacturing - A multidisciplinary research team from Georgia Tech has just been awarded $500,000 over four years to study ways in which steel production in China can be made more sustainable. The grant is being awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is matched with a research grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to a group of Chinese investigators from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and China’s Northeastern University.
- Professor Crittenden travels frequently to China. On one such trip in 2014 he was inducted into the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of 16 non-Chinese scientists to receive the honor that year. He also delivered a plenary talk at the International Conference on Engineering Science and Technology 2014 (ICEST 2014) in Beijing. It was during that trip that he had the honor of meeting the President of China, Xi Jinping.
- Tsinghua University Students visit BBISS - Eight students and one faculty member from Tsinghua University’s School of Environment visited Georgia Tech for two weeks as part of a student exchange program. It was funded by a cost sharing collaboration between Tsingua University and the BBISS. The exchange provided a cultural and academic forum for students studying many aspects of sustainable urban systems to learn from each other while gaining a cultural perspective that only international travel can foster.
- In 2012, a delegation from Georgia Tech participated in “The China-US Workshop on Environmental Protection and Urban Sustainable Development” in Tianjin. It was co-organized by the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation and the U.S. National Science Foundation and co-hosted by Tianjin University and Georgia Institute of Technology. The U.S. delegation of investigators are part of an NSF funded project from the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation - Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructures (EFRI-RESIN) program called, “Sustainable Infrastructures for Energy and Water Supply (SINEWS).” The Chinese delegation is affiliated with the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (RCEES) at Tianjin University.
Brent Verrill, Communications Manager, BBISS