Sustainable Megaregions

2022 ~ Present | This research has been funded by a grant from the Ivan Allen College’s Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC) and a Moving Team Forward Seed Grant from Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President for Research. We are actively applying for external funding.

Goals

Megaregions – networks of metropolitan centers linked by proximity, populations, economic interactions, topography and land use patterns, and integration of infrastructure and environmental systems – have become hubs of economic production, magnets for human capital, and incubators of innovation. With their considerable resources, it is conceivable that megaregions could serve as platforms for addressing a panoply of sustainable development challenges. Given their considerable resources, megaregions potentially could serve as platforms from which to mitigate, manage, and resiliently adapt to the threats posed by pandemics and the intensifying assault of natural and manmade disasters. The Sustainable Megaregion Research Project brings together a transdisciplinary research team to explore the potential benefits of addressing challenges of sustainable development – e.g., how to build robustness and resilience to confront the threats posed by climate change -- at the megaregion scale. Through comparative analysis of selected megaregions in the United States and around the world, we aim to identify best practices of megaregion sustainability that will be of interest to stakeholders in government, the private sector, civil society, and academia.

Issues Involved or Addressed

This project aims to identify the potential opportunities and challenges of preparing for, managing, and building adaptive resilience to pandemics and large-scale disasters – both natural and manmade – at the megaregional scale. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic and Superstorm Sandy are examples of disasters that a megaregion-level response might have helped to mitigate. This project aims to address these concerns by focusing on steps that have been, or might be, taken to build resilience and protect critical infrastructure in a select set of established and emerging megaregions. We seek to identify best practices of sustainable development in the Boston-Washington corridor, Greater Tokyo, and the Amsterdam-Brussels-Antwerp triangle -- a trio of established megaregions located on separate continents and embedded in different institutional arrangements, contexts, and cultures. The findings we derive from the data-driven comparisons of sustainability practices in these established megaregions will serve as benchmarks in assessing the state of affairs in emerging megaregions. Among the emerging megaregions upon which we intend to focus are the Piedmont Atlantic region (which embraces Atlanta) and the Lagos-Accra-Dakar corridor in west Africa.

Methods and Technologies

  • Geographic Information System
  • Infrastructure systems (e.g., transportation infrastructure)
  • Political/institutional and social analysis
  • Econometrics
  • Satellite data analysis (e.g., using Google Earth Engine)
  • Sustainable communities
  • Smart cities
  • Regional studies: East Asia (Japan), Western Europe, and Global South (e.g., Africa)

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Computer Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • International Affairs
  • Public Policy
  • Biology
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Physics

Preferred Interests and Preparation

This project welcomes students of all majors and all levels, from first-year undergraduates through doctoral students. There are no specific prerequisites, but we are interested in recruiting students with an interest in satellite data analysis, international affairs, sustainable development, and infrastructure engineering.

Meeting Schedule & Location

Time 
12:30-1:20
Meeting Day 
Tuesday

Team Advisors

Brian Woodall
  • International Affairs
Mariel Borowitz
  • International Affairs

Partner(s) and Sponsor(s)

This research has been funded by a grant from the Ivan Allen College’s Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC) and a Moving Team Forward Seed Grant from Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President for Research. We are actively applying for external funding.

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