Professor Evan Barba and Co-Investigators Win NSF Grant

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Reflecting the truly interdisciplinary nature of CCT, CCT Professor Evan Barba and his co-investigators, Robin Dillon-Merrill (McDonough School of Business), Uwe Brandes (School of Continuing Studies), and Pete Marra (The Earth Commons Institute, Georgetown University), have been awarded the National Science Foundation’s Sustainable Regional Systems Planning Grant. Dr Barba is Associate Professor within the CCT program, where he teaches courses such as Interaction Design and Systemic Design & UX; this semester, Dr Barba currently teaches courses on The Game of Chess and Sustainability Theory and Practice. His research interests include information & communications technologies and systemic design & computing.

The grant examines the current strategies of climate changes from the ground up by engaging stakeholders from across the urban-rural gradient to better understand their knowledge and preparedness for climate change in the region and to build a research coalition to mitigate these effects in the medium term. 

Dr Barba and his co-investigators’ project focuses on developing an action-oriented network of academic, industrial, governmental, and non-governmental organizations with the reach and expertise to define and parameterize a transition to a sustainable future and to outfit that network with the tools it needs to measure and manage that transition.

According to the grant proposal submitted to the NSF, “The Washington, DC region, given its size and complexity and position within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, provides the ideal case study for a research network to examine the complexities and promise of a sustainable regional systems approach focused on food and water”. 

Another aspect of the project focuses on understanding how multiple stakeholders can achieve equitable regional sustainability and how entities can measure and manage food and water sustainability across complex systems at regional scales from a multiple stakeholder perspective. The project leverages existing partnerships to lay the groundwork for the creation of such an ensemble of adaptive interventions by (1) mapping the problems from multiple stakeholder perspectives, (2) envisioning the solutions and getting buy-in from those stakeholders, and (3) enlarging the network to account for gaps in representation and to ensure the capacity to eventually develop and deploy such an ensemble. 

To learn more about interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability at Georgetown, check out the Earth Commons Institute, Georgetown’s hub for environmental and sustainability innovation, research and education.