Workshop 2: Sustainable Urban Ecosystems

Invited Speakers’ Abstracts and Biographies

Dan Childers, Ph.D.

Professor, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University; Director, Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program – Phoenix, Arizona

Country: United States of America

Title: “An overview of the CAP LTER Program with an emphasis on our social-ecological research on the ecosystem services and bio-cultural services of Urban Ecological Infrastructure”

Abstract: The Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program has been studying this large metro area since 1997. This urban systems research has always been broadly interdisciplinary and social-ecological, and the ecosystem services that connect “nature in the city” to the city’s inhabitants have long been central to this work. Another central conceptual feature of CAP research is a focus on Urban Ecological Infrastructure (UEI), which is a broad term and idea that encompasses anything in city that supports ecological structure and function; UEI is effectively everything except the actual built environment. In the project presented here, specific types of UEI were chosen for the ecosystem and cultural services—hereafter bio-cultural services—that they provide to nearby residents. Data on resident perceptions and preferences for or against UEI were derived from the Phoenix Area Social Survey. This research addressed the question: What social and environmental features, including proximity to varied UEI, influence perceived bio-cultural services and disservices in PASS neighborhood residents?

Biography: Dan Childers has been a Professor in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University since 2008. He is the Director of the Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER Program and was the co-Director of the Urban Sustainability Research Coordination Network, both funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). He is also the Founding Director of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program. He has served as a Program Officer at the NSF, in the Ecosystems Cluster and LTER Program of the Division of Environmental Biology. He has served on the editorial boards of a number of journals and is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Urban Ecology and a Handling Editor for Bioscience. His research has always focused on wetland ecosystem ecology, urban ecology, and sustainability science.  Dan has conducted research in many different freshwater and estuarine ecosystems around the world, including working for nearly 15 years in the Florida Everglades. Since the early 2000s, he has expanded his research portfolio to include social-ecological approaches, urban ecosystems, the ecology-design nexus, water dynamics in cities, urban sustainability, and urban wetlands. Dan has published nearly 140 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and books, won grants that have totaled nearly $40 million, and advised more than 30 Ph.D. and M.S. students.


Marinus L. Otte, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biological Science. Director of the Wet Ecosystem Research Group, North Dakota State University – Fargo, North Dakota

Country: United States of America

Title: “Wetland Restoration and Creation in the Anthropocene”

Abstract: In a world where no place exists that has not been impacted by humans, and pressures on resources are high, how can we ensure sustainable management of water and wetlands? As the human population continues to grow, so does the demand for clean water and food, and space. Wetlands are of vital importance to humans and our environment. How can we integrate wetlands in an increasingly urbanized society?

Biography: Marinus Otte is a professor of biological sciences at North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., USA. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Wetlands, ( an international scientific journal since 2012. The Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) is an international organization of about 3,500 members dedicated to fostering sound wetland science, education, and management. Dr. Otte has led the Wet Ecosystem Research Group at NDSU since 2006. The group trains graduate and undergraduate students in scientific research, particularly wetlands, plants, biogeochemistry, watershed ecology and metals in the environment. The group collaborates with soils scientists, geologists, environmental engineers, microbiologists, as well as with groups underpinning management of natural resources. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Dr. Otte’s research interests include Wetland ecology, biogeochemistry, restoration, pollution, and ecotoxicology.


Dan Richards, Ph.D.

Researcher, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research- Lincoln, New Zealand

Country: New Zealand

Title: “Using Nature to Solve the Global Challenges of Urbanisation”

Abstract: The process of urbanisation has widespread ecological impacts. Many cities face pressing environmental challenges, including elevated temperatures, increased flood risk, and few opportunities for residents to experience nature. Urban ecosystems have the potential to mitigate some of these urban challenges through providing ecosystem services; for example by cooling the air, retaining storm water, and providing recreational spaces for residents. There is increasing interest among planners and designers in better incorporating nature into cities, but we lack an understanding of which nature-based solutions have the greatest potential, and how this varies across climatic and economic contexts in different parts of the world. This talk will present new research that aims to give us a more global, joined-up perspective on the role that nature can play in future cities. It will highlight how new remote sensing and artificial intelligence technologies hold the potential to quantify the role of urban ecosystem services in contributing to human well-being across thousands of cities.

Biography: Dan Richards is a researcher at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, New Zealand. His work looks at how ecosystems provide benefits to people, particularly focusing on cities. Through better understanding the benefits of urban nature, he hopes to inform urban planning to design cities that are safer, more livable, and resilient to future climate change. He has worked previously in Europe and Southeast Asia, and has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers.


Qiang He, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Understanding the Human-Building-Microbiome Nexus for Sustainable and Healthy Urban Environments”

Abstract:  Urban environments are characterized by the concentration of buildings. As humans spend more than 90% of their time in indoors, the built environment is vital for urban sustainability and public wellbeing. Humans, built environments, and microbiomes constitute a system of ecosystems with extensive interactions that impact one another. Understanding the interactions between these systems is essential to develop strategies for effective management of the built environment and its inhabitants to enhance sustainability and public health.

Biography: Qiang He is a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. Working toward the goal of “a healthy and sustainable environment”, his recent research endeavors have focused on the development of multidisciplinary research efforts to address issues of sustainability in both natural and engineered environments. Examples of his work include microbiomes of biological treatment processes, urban stormwater management, and resource recovery from waste materials.


Matt Taylor

Senior Policy Analyst and Business Team Manager, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation – Nashville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “A Practitioner Perspective on Food System Sustainability’s Complexities in Program and Policy Design“

Abstract: Food systems are complex, interconnected webs of activities, resources, stakeholders, and outputs that collectively produce, process, distribute, and provide food. There is a shared interest in creating food systems that are more sustainable. Sustainable food systems are those that reduce negative environmental impacts, enhance food security, and support the economic vitality of those working in food systems. Designing programs and activities to promote food systems sustainability are nuanced and complex, and often require consideration of local and regional dynamics. These nuances are often not appropriately communicated to consumers. In this session, we will discuss two prominent “sustainable food” messages – to reduce food packaging and to purchase local food – to unpack how these messages can overlook important nuances. Then, we highlight how stakeholders should consider the holistic impact of food system interventions to avoid the trap of overlooking tradeoffs and potential negative consequences.  

Biography: Matt Taylor is Senior Policy Analyst and Business Team Manager for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation – Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices. He works with TDEC Divisions and external stakeholders on broad, complex environmental policy issues and is responsible for coordinating TDEC reviews and responses on projects in the state of Tennessee that trigger National Environmental Policy Act requirements. Matt also manages the state of Tennessee’s business and industrial sector facing sustainability programs. Matt holds a master’s degree in Geography from the University of Arkansas, an MBA from Tennessee State University, a BS in Resource and Environmental Studies from Texas State University, a BS in Urban Studies from Tennessee State University, and a certificate in Sustainable Environmental Management from UC Berkeley. In addition to his educational background, Matt has a range of professional experience in environmental sciences from his time working with the U.S. Forest Service – Rocky Mountain Research Station as well as solid waste regulatory experience from time spent with the TDEC – Division of Solid Waste Management.


Adam Sochacki, Ph.D.

Postdoc Researcher, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague – Prague

Country: Czech Republic

Title: “Nature-based Solutions for Greywater Reuse in Urban Areas: Benefits, Challenges and Case Studies”

Abstract: The reuse of greywater to meet some of daily water demands in urban areas can bring about number of economic, environmental and community benefits. The efficient treatment of greywater can be achieved by various intensive and extensive methods such as nature-based solutions (green walls, green roofs and treatment wetlands). Apart from water treatment nature-based solutions provide environmental, social and economic benefits, such as biodiversity, reducing heat island and flood risks, resilience, human well-being and aesthetical value. However, the application of nature-based solutions in urban areas is facing some challenges such as: lack of design guidelines, technical issues, unknown risk associated with micropollutants, vagueness in legislation, and poorly defined role within water system and the environment. This presentation will be supplemented with case studies from the Czech Republic (including the campus of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague) and foreign collaborators.

Biography: Adam Sochacki has been a postdoc researcher at the Wetland Group (group leader: Professor Jan Vymazal) of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (Czech Republic) since 2016. He has obtained his PhD degree in 2013 from the Silesian University of Technology (Poland) and Mines Saint-Étienne (France). He has been studying the ability of constructed wetlands to remove organic contaminants from various types of wastewater including greywater and the methods to improve their performance. Recently, he has been involved in the project “SWAMP – Responsible water management in built-up areas in relation to the surrounding landscape” within a task group focusing on water reuse by green walls and green roofs and he joined the COST programme action “CA17133 – Implementing nature based solutions for creating a resourceful circular city.”


Daniel Somma, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher, National Institute for Agricultural Technology- Buenos Aires

Country: Argentina

Title: “The Participatory Land Use Planning Process at Parana River Delta, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina”

Abstract: In the Parana River Delta (1.78 Million hectares, Argentina), an inter-institutional Participatory Land Use Planning Process (PLUPP) is being built with both, scientific and empiric farmer knowledge support. This process seeks to find consistent management answers to a changing world. It occurs in one of the principal wetlands Systems of South America that is; also, a key river transport network for three countries (Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay). It is, besides, the principal source of freshwater of an urban riverine Region that holds 24 million inhabitants. To safeguard the continuity of the wetlands key ecosystem services production processes (involving e.g.: flooding mitigation, biodiversity conservation, water pollution control, islands silvopastoral systems), there are ongoing different research programs and social networks that are working articulated in PLUPP. These programs and networks are looking forward to alleviating negative effects that arise from current land use and cover change (LUCC) processes across the Region.

Biography: Daniel Somma is a senior researcher at the Argentine National Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA). He is currently based at INTA’s Delta Experimental unit outside the city of Buenos Aires. He has been Director of the Buenos Aires Norte Regional Center (2013 – 2016) and President of the National Parks Administration (2019 – 2021). He has served as a consultant for agricultural planning, sustainable forestry production and information systems in different projects of a private and public nature in provincial (Salta, Jujuy, Catamarca, Santa Cruz), national and international (Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay) settings. He has worked as Director or Principal Consultant in projects of the IDB, the GEF (World Bank), the UNDP, the EU, and other international organizations (JICA, AECI).


Winifred Curran, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Geography, DePaul University – Chicago, Illinois

Country: United States of America

Title: “A “Just Green Enough” Approach: Urban greening without displacement”

Abstract: Too often urban greening projects are tied to an outward-looking, postindustrial urban growth agenda. This focus ignores interventions which are less visible, smaller scale, and serve a working-class population in still-industrial areas of the city. In this talk, I offer examples of small-scale interventions undertaken by the Newtown Creek Alliance to accomplish demonstrable environmental improvements along the heavily polluted industrial waterway of Newtown Creek in New York City. Though largely invisible within the larger conversation on greening and urban development, these interventions have the potential for substantive environmental improvement that benefits existing long-term residents and users rather than being a tool to attract new residents and luxury development. This example serves as an attempt to diversify the “best practice” case studies that will inform future urban greening projects. 

Biography: Winifred Curran is a Professor of Geography at DePaul University.  Her work focuses on the effects of gentrification on the urban landscape. She is the author if Gender and Gentrification (Routledge 2018) and co-editor, with Trina Hamilton, of Just Green Enough: Urban Development and Environmental Gentrification.


Elena Hidalgo, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher, National Institute of Agricultural Technology – San Juan province

Country: Argentina

Title: “Urban Food Security and Food Sovereignty Issues: Argentina’s Pro-Huerta Program”

Abstract: Established in the 1990s by the Argentine National Institute of Agricultural and Technology (INTA), Pro-Huerta is designed to strengthen urban food security of the most vulnerable groups. The program has been implemented in all Argentine provinces and replicated successfully in several other countries in the region. The program helps strengthen food security and sovereignty based on local food production and marketing through shorter circuits. 

Biography: Elena Hidalgo is a researcher at the Argentine National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) based at the San Juan province Agricultural Experiment Station. Her work involves educational extension, management of territorial development programs and training of human resources. Within the framework of the FOAR Program for Bilateral Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, she participated in technical consulting mission for Pro-Huerta Program in Colombia (2002), Grenada (2003), Bolivia (2004), Mexico (2005), Mozambique (2006) and Colombia (2007). She is also a Professor and Researcher at the San Juan National University in Argentina and she is chair for the Human Ecology lab in the Department of Sociology – Faculty of Social Sciences and the Extension and Rural Sociology lab in the Department of Agronomic Engineering -Faculty of Engineering since. She has a Ph.D. in Human Ecology from Michigan State University.


Alessio Russo, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer and Academic Course Leader in the Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Gloucestershire – Cheltenham

Country: United Kingdom

Title: “Urban Ecosystem Services: Toward a Sustainable Future”

Abstract: The school of thought surrounding the urban ecosystem has increasingly become in vogue among researchers worldwide. Since half of the world’s population lives in cities, urban ecosystem services have become essential to human health and well-being. Rapid urban growth has forced sustainable urban developers to rethink important steps by updating and, to some degree, recreating the human–ecosystem service linkage. This talk addresses topics such as ecosystem services, green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, urban green spaces, edible green infrastructure, human health,  and more. It highlights current knowledge, gaps, and future research with the focus on building a sustainable future.

Biography: Alessio Russo is Senior Lecturer and Academic Course Leader in the Master of Landscape  Architecture at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, United Kingdom. Before joining the University of Gloucestershire, he worked in Russia as an Associate Professor at RUDN University in Moscow and Professor and Head of Laboratory of Urban and Landscape Design at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. He holds a Bachelor in Science in Plant Production from the University of Naples, Post-Graduate Specialization in Healing Garden Design from the University of Milan, and Master in Science in Landscape Design and Planning from the University of Pisa. He received his Ph.D. in Urban Forestry from the University of Bologna. Outside of academia, he has worked as a Landscape Architect in the United Kingdom, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates, dealing with sustainable design and planning. He is a member of the International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes ICOMOS-IFLA, International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Advisory Circle, and International Union for Conservation of Nature Commission on Ecosystem Management. He also serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems


Lei Zhao, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and National Center of Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, Illinois

Country: United States of America

Title: “Global Multi-model Projections of Local Urban Climates”

Abstract: Cities are where major human-perceived climate change impacts occur. Many globally recognized climate threats such as heat stress, water scarcity, air pollution, energy shortage, extreme rainfall, and flooding are either rooted from or exacerbated by the unique urban climatology combined with the concentrated population and infrastructure. These hazardous risks are projected to be further worsen due to climate change coupled with rapid urbanization. Effective urban planning and adaptation for climate-driven risks relies on robust climate modeling that are specific to built landscapes with quantitative characterization of uncertainties. Such projections, however, are largely absent because of a near-universal lack of urban representation in global-scale Earth system models. In this seminar, I will present a newly developed urban climate emulator framework that combines process-based Earth system modeling and data-driven Physics-Guided Machine Learning (PGML), and its applications on understanding the local urban climate change, variability, and uncertainty, and climate impacts to built environments at the global scale. 

Biography: Lei Zhao is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant professor affiliated with the National Center of Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research concerns the physical and engineering processes in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer where most human activities and environmental systems are concentrated, with a particular focus on built surfaces and urban environments. He combines theory, numerical modeling, remote sensing and in situ observations, and cutting-edge machine learning methods to study environmental fluid mechanics and land-atmosphere dynamics that relate to urban environments, microclimatology and hydrology, climate change, climate impacts and adaptation. He has published many peer-reviewed papers in top-ranked journals including Nature, Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience, Nature Communications as first author and/or corresponding author. Lei received his Ph.D. (2015) in atmospheric and environmental science from the School of the Environment at Yale University. Before joining at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lei was a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University. Lei obtained his B.S. degree (2009) in Physics and Atmospheric Physics from Nanjing University in China.


Jiafu Mao, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist, Earth System Modeling Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Joint faculty Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Urban Warming Advances Spring Phenology but Reduces the Response of Phenology to Temperature in the Conterminous United States”

Abstract: We investigated the changes in satellite-derived start of season (SOS) and the covariation between SOS and temperature (RT) in 85 large US cities between 2001 and 2014. We found 1) SOS came significantly earlier in 74 cities and RT was significantly weaker in 43 cities when compared with surrounding rural areas 2) decreased RT mainly occurred in cities in relatively cold regions with annual mean temperature <17.3 °C; and 3) urban−rural magnitude difference in both SOS and RT was primarily correlated with the intensity of urban heat island. Model simulations further suggested more and faster heat accumulation contributed to earlier SOS, while a decrease in required chilling led to a decline in RT magnitude in urban areas. These findings provide observational evidence of a reduced covariation between temperature and SOS in major US cities, implying the response of spring phenology to warming in nonurban environments may decline in the future.

Biography: Jiafu Mao is a senior research scientist in the Earth System Modeling Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a joint faculty professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering of University of Tennessee. He has been interested in the quantification of hydrology, carbon cycling, and vegetation dynamics in the terrestrial ecosystems using field measurements, satellite products, process-oriented land surface and Earth system models, and various statistic methods including the machine learning techniques.


Joshua S. Fu, Ph.D.

Tickle Professor and Gibson Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Inaugural Professor, UT-ORNL Bredesen Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Joint Appointment Professor, Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Lessons and Opportunities for integrated Engineering and Earth Systems Science as Solutions to Water in a Changing Climate”

Abstract: Climate change is happening. Climate change is no longer a hypothesis. It is a fact. The solutions are expected to be developed.  To develop a framework for a systems approach to studying the Earth and to identify facilities, infrastructure, coordinating mechanisms, computing, and workforce development needed to support future work, it bridges the gap between engineering and earth systems science to share successful strategies and discuss challenges. Making further progress will require lowering institutional and cultural barriers to engagement across traditional scientific disciplines and advancing transdisciplinary efforts that a foster greater understanding of the interdependencies among the Earth system components. There are examples, Practicable predictions of water quality and quantity, as well as floods and droughts, require data-driven models and smart sensing systems. Exascale computing, edge computing, and 5G offer the promise to accelerate scientific discovery and revolutionize engineering approaches through data-driven and physics-constrained to build a next-generation civil infrastructure

Biography: Joshua S. Fu is the Tickle Professor and Gibson Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of The University of Tennessee Knoxville, USA. He is also the Inaugural Professor of the UT-ORNL Bredesen Center, Joint Appointment Professor in the  Computational Sciences and Engineering Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Prof Fu has served Vice-Chair of the Measurement Model Fusion for the Global Total Atmospheric Deposition (MMF-GTAD) of the new initiative in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), contributed as a co-author of the Final Report of the Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution (HTAP) for the UN ECE, AMAP Short Life Climate Forcers Report of the Arctic Council and reviewing committee member for air quality status in East Asia under EANET. He also contributed to climate modelling results for IPCC AR5 based on RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios. The focus of Prof Fu’s research work includes air quality, climate change, energy, and human health. Additional focus is to utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques on climate change, human health, and mapping global total atmospheric deposition. Currently, his research team is deploying a chemistry solver for a new ESM and improve the climate-chemistry model on global and regional scales and downscaling to a 4 km resolution. Dr. Fu has received numerous awards from national and international associations and is a recipient of the Fellow of the AAAS and A&WMA, Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member of the AAEES, and other distinguished and endowed professorship awards. He has published more than 170 refereed journal articles and 120 conference proceedings, more than 200 invited talks and keynotes, and serving journal editors.


Virginia Dale, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Country: United States of America

Title: “Best Practices in Community and Stakeholder Engagement“

Authors: Virginia H Dale1, Andrew Kliskey2, Paula Williams2, David L. Griffith2, Chelsea Schelly3, Anna-Maria Marshall4, Valoree S. Gagnon5, Weston M. Eaton6, and Kristin Floress 7

1 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee Knoxville, 37996, USA;, 2Center for Resilient Communities, University of Idaho; Moscow, 83844, USA: (P.W.); (D.L.G.), 3Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University; Houghton, 49931, USA;, 4Department of Sociology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Urbana, 61801, USA;, 5College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and University-Indigenous Community Partner-ships, Great Lakes Research Center, Michigan Technological University; Houghton, 49931, USA;, 6Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, Pennsylvania State University; University Park, 16802, USA;, 7United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service; Evanston, 60201, USA;

Abstract: Community and stakeholder engagement is essential to science at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems (FEWS). Local knowledge contextualizes complex interactions among food, energy, and water systems and helps identify more effective solutions. Based on a review and meta-synthesis of a broad range of existing models, frameworks, and toolkits for community and stakeholder engagement, a framework is proposed for best practices in community and stakeholder engagement in FEWS. The framework includes situational awareness of the FEWS place or problem, creation of a suitable culture for engagement, focus on power-sharing in the engagement process, co-ownership, co-generation of knowledge and outcomes, the technical process of integration, monitoring processes of reflective and reflexive experiences, and formative evaluation. The framework is considered a scaffold to support the development and application of best practices in community and stakeholder engagement in ways that are essential for sound FEWS science and sustainable management of ecosystems for human use.

Biography: Virginia Dale is a landscape ecologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. She has served on scientific advisory boards for five US agencies and several committees of the National Academies of Science. She contributed to the 2007 IPCC Scientific Assessment that received the Nobel Peace Prize. She is a Co-PI on the National Science Foundation project Engage INFEWS: A Research Coordination Network for Community and Stakeholder Engagement Critical to Food, Energy, and Water Systems.


Andrea Ludwig, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Natural Drainage Systems to Restore Ecosystem Services in Residential Landscapes”

Abstract: The urban water cycle is plagued with imbalances that can act as stressors to the ecosystem. Managing water quantity and quality in urban and urbanizing watersheds through natural drainage systems may lessen that impact and help restore ecosystem services that have been lost. Natural drainage systems are an alternative to grey infrastructure for managing stormwater runoff through redesign of residential areas to take advantage of the natural capacity of plants, soil, and the landscape to clean runoff and manage flows. Rain gardens, bioswales, created wetlands, and permeable pavements are all components that may be used in a natural drainage system. Innovative design is needed that addresses unique ecoregion conditions as well as across a range of built environment applications. Just as important are the human elements of acceptance by residents and maintenance and management by those responsible for their long-term effectiveness. This talk will explore the physical, ecological, and human dimensions of natural drainage systems and showcase some case studies in East Tennessee, USA. 

Biography: Andrea Ludwig is an Associate Professor of Ecological Engineering in the Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science Department at the University of Tennessee. She has served as the State Stormwater Management Specialist for UT Extension since 2010, and in that role, works with local municipal governments to help support their green infrastructure programs. She is the co-director of Tennessee Smart Yards, which is an sustainable landscaping educational program that seeks to certify private property across the state as “Tennessee Smart Yards.” She serves as the current Chair of the Watershed Faculty Consortium at UT, is a long-time member of the American Ecological Engineering Society, and is the faculty co-advisor for the student club the Hydrolunteers. She has received the BESS Outstanding Service Faculty Award twice and the Hicks Outstanding New Extension Worker Award. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Biological Engineering and Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arkansas and a PhD in Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.



Dr. Jie (Joe Zhuang), Dr. Marinus Otte, Dr. Lei Zhao,Dr. Adam Sochacki