Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018DC196B

Development of Urban Sustainability Model for Metropolitan DC based on Population, Food, Water, Energy and Infrastructure

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,974 Total Non-Federal Funds: $4,788

Principal Investigators: Lei Wang, Pradeep Behera, Bryan Higgs

Abstract: The 20th Century witnessed significant growth of urban areas, which resulted in rapid development of cities and metropolitan areas not only in the United States but also throughout the world. Currently, cities are the manifestation of the cultural, economic and social acceleration of our modern time. In 1950, about 2/3 of the population worldwide lived in rural areas and 1/3 in urban areas. By 2050, it is predicted that the global population will reach 9.8 billion and migration of populations to the urban areas will lead to 2/3 of the population or 6 billion people living in the messy, burgeoning atmosphere of urbanized areas. The Brundtland Report by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development defined the term sustainable development as the ability to live up to the needs of todays generation, without endangering the opportunities of future generations to fulfill their own needs. In order to develop sustainable metropolitan cities, this research purposes to create a new urban sustainability model for Metropolitan DC that will be useful for (i) planners, engineers and other professionals for analyzing existing and future growth of metropolitan DC area with respect to key broad parameters including population, food, water, energy, infrastructure; (ii) residents for understanding impact of population growth and how that can be useful for sustainable adaptability in urban agriculture and water management. A Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis will be conducted for the Washington DC area. The analysis will utilize data from multiple sources (i.e., USGS, CENSUS, Department of Transportation, etc.) to calculate the key factors used in determining the sustainability index. The GIS analysis will seek to use data that is commonly available such that the process can be readily replicated for other cities. The process will also be scalable such that the analysis can focus on a city, a metropolitan area, a megalopolis (e.g., northeast megalopolis from Washington D.C. to Boston), or a state. Based on the data from GIS analysis and existing literatures, the research will produce an Urban Sustainability Function Model based on the logistic curve method for Washington DC. The urban sustainability model represents a sustainable urban growth in Washington DC accounting for the carrying capacity and optimized equilibrium condition of various urban components. This model will incorporate a broad range of parameters: (i) increase demand of food needs, (ii) increase in food production, (iii) increase demand of water, (iv) increase demand of natural resources including air, water, arable land and raw materials, (v) increase demand of energy, (vi) increase demand of infrastructures such as buildings, transportation, utilities, water and wastewater etc., (vii) increase in percent imperviousness of geographic boundary. The outcome of this research will provide decision makers from a broad spectrum including political, technical and professionals from food, water, energy and other areas an analytical tools for creating an optimal society within a geographic boundary. The research outcomes of this project will address water problems in the District of Columbia and directly benefit the design and management of water resource and infrastructures in the region.