GIS Seminar: Urban Sustainability and Resilience through Stormwater Systems at Different Scales

Abstract: According to the United Nations, 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. As cities grow, the ability to achieve a sustainable community that is food secure, manages increased flood waters, and minimizes energy consumption is jeopardized, thus weakening the connection between the people and their environment. As communities develop, public health concerns reinforce the need to replace, rehabilitate, and upgrade aging infrastructure. Urban water problems take place in a multiple criteria environment characterized by various degrees of uncertainty, multidimensional goals due to the presence of social, public health, and other human-related factors, the difficulty associated with identifying the real decision-makers, and a sophisticated structure of alternative solutions. Stormwater green infrastructure (GI), such as green roofs and bioretention systems, are complex systems of components and processes related to climate, soil, water, plant, land cover/land use, and human factors that mitigate urbanization impacts. They utilize the hydrologic cycle components to reduce/ treat/ reuse stormwater at its source and deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits for water-energy-food systems. Additionally, they offer resilience through adaptation to changing land use and climate. Traditional design requirements for GI systems have been based on static principles. To maximize performance and minimize cost, next-generation design approaches need to incorporate as much of the processes and interrelationships in a GI system as possible into the design process.

In this presentation, monitoring results are used to demonstrate how traditional design may underestimate the performance of GI systems. Then, I present a framework for the dynamic design of GI systems and discuss a case study to show the benefits of this dynamic approach. Also, I discuss how the effective impervious areas and topographic data resolution affect the sustainability and resilience of stormwater systems through hydrologic modeling at larger scales. The next part of the talk demonstrates the application of multi-criteria decision-making methods and soft computing techniques in sustainability assessment and risk analysis of urban water systems at different scales through different case studies. The talk is concluded with a review of my future research projects.

Speaker: Dr. Ali Ebrahimian, Research Professor at the Center for Resilient Water Systems at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University

Bio: Dr. Ebrahimian's research is primarily focused on the linkages between hydrology, sustainable-resilient urban water systems, and food-energy-water nexus. Dr. Ebrahimian holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from University of Minnesota. Prior to his Ph.D. studies, he had twelve years of professional experience in planning, modeling, design, and management of urban water systems.

RIT Department of Sustainability

Event Snapshot
When and Where
Friday, April 19, 2019
9:30 AM-10:30 AM
Sustainability Institute Hall

Open to the Public

Interpreter Requested