2019 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Towards a Sustainable Model for Urban-Watershed Systems

August 16-17, 2019

EVENT

The 2019 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Towards a Sustainable Model for Urban-Watershed Systems conference and workshop provided a platform to introduce cross-disciplinary dialogues around sustainable urban-watershed management and explore best practices to explain and better understand the different factors that interact to form an urban-watershed system.

This event was funded by a NSF Sustainable Urban Systems Grant Award #1929945.

Description:
As the global population continues to grow, cities must address the challenges and opportunities of urban watersheds, urban and surrounding lands that contribute runoff to a particular water body such as a river. To do this effectively, cities must use a systemic approach that integrates perspectives of science, engineering, design, planning, and policy, while incorporating input from citizens along the water’s edge.

The “Future Cities, Livable Futures: Toward a Sustainable Model for Urban-Watershed Systems” conference workshop were held at the University of Texas at Arlington in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex on August 16 and 17, 2019, to discuss approaches to these complex problems. Participants had an opportunity to discuss and evaluate the environmental impacts from transportation and related infrastructure systems, climate change, and economic and population growth on the Trinity River Watershed from a variety of disciplinary perspectives to examine the complexities of urban-watershed systems. The future of the Trinity River Watershed was utilized as a relevant model for future urban watershed management and planning across the United States. The conference provided a great platform to introduce cross-disciplinary dialogues around urban-watershed management, explore best practices, and explain and better understand the different factors that interact to form an urban-watershed system. This event resulted in interdisciplinary research partnerships targeted at developing research initiatives on the creation and stewardship of sustainable urban watershed systems.

The invited workshop on day 2 incorporated a unique participatory approach through the incorporation of a graphic facilitator, integrating design thinking and systems thinking to explore the needs of different stakeholders and the concrete constraints that hydrological and human-made systems impose on urban watersheds, while also examining the manner in which these needs and constraints reinforce social inequity and economic disparity. The conference began with cross-sector presentations on best practices and the workshop provided hands-on re-imagination of the future of the Trinity River Watershed system.

With inputs from participants, the principal investigators identified activities and research areas that would engage stakeholders and collaborators in future endeavors with positive impacts on future urban watershed development in the DFW region and other cities in the United States. Systems sciences were applied to decipher how different social, environmental, and economic factors, patterns, and behaviors of the urban watershed interact to form a complex system. Network analysis was explored for the study of the urban watershed as a dynamic system in order to simulate the heterogeneous factors that interact and constitute urban-watershed relationships. Based on the information gathered from the conference, the conference and workshop participants were better able to understand the interactions among environmental, social, and economic variables within a dynamic system.

CONFERENCE OUTCOMES

WORKSHOP OUTCOMES

PROJECT OUTCOMES

The overarching goal of the Future Cities, Livable Futures: Toward a Sustainable Model for Urban-Watershed Systems conference was to bring together cross-disciplinary experts to step out of their disciplinary roles and be part of a cross-disciplinary, holistic exploration of urban watershed systems involving the different representatives of governmental and non-governmental agencies, engineers, designers, developers and community members to collectively explore how to create sustainable futures in cities and communities that exist along urban watersheds.
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AWARDS

The University of Texas at Arlington leads the Regional Centre of Expertise North Texas. We are part of the United Nations University (UNU) Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). The 2019 Future Cities; Livable Futures event received an award from the Global RCE Service Centre for the “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Project” competition. According to the Global RCE Service Centre, the event was awarded as follows:

“Acknowledged Flagship Project for its role in contributing to SDG 15: Life on Land. This award is given annually to RCEs that have made outstanding contributions to address local sustainable development challenges in their regions.”

SPEAKERS

Mayor Jeff Williams

Mayor of Arlington, Texas

Donna Barron

City Manager, City of Lewisville

Glenn Clingenpeel

Executive Manager of Technical Services and Basin Planning, Trinity River Authority, Arlington

Jerry Cotter

Chief of Water Resources, US Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District

Vincent Lee

Associate Principal and Technical Director, Water for North America in Arup

Stephen Luoni

Director & Distinguished Professor-University of Arkansas Community Design Center, Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies

John Nielsen-Gammon

Texas State Climatologist, Texas A&M University

Becky Nussbaum Gerro

Fund Development Coordinator, River Legacy Living Science Center

Stacey Pierce

Executive Director, Streams & Valleys, Inc.

Brandi Schottel

Associate Program Director, National Science Foundation

Jaynie Schultz

Dallas City Plan Commissioner, District 11 and Chair of the Urban Design Advisory Committee

Elizabeth Silver

Associate Principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

Kevin Sloan

Professor of Practice in Architecture, University of Texas at Arlington and Landscape Architect for Kevin Sloan Studio

Adrian Parr

Dean, College of Design
Senior Fellow, Design Futures Council
University of Oregon

AGENDA

Friday, August 16, 2019

Morning

8:30-9:00 – Registration and Breakfast

9:00-10:30

Mayor Jeff Williams
Opening remarks

Dean Adrian Parr
Opening remarks

Brandi Schottel
Introduction

H2Otalks

Glenn Clingenpeel
History of the Trinity Watershed

Donna Barron
Policy and Community Engagement

Jaynie Schultz
The Unheard Voice in Land Use

Jerry Cotter
Management of Watershed System

10:30-11:00 – Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 – H2Otalks

Vincent Lee
Green and Blue Infrastructure

Stacey Pierce
Confluence – Fort Worth Streams and Valleys

Becky Nussbaum Gerro
River Legacy Living Science Center

Elizabeth Silver
Harold Simmons Park Dallas

John Nielsen-Gammon
Climate Change

Kevin Sloan
Rewilding

Steve Luoni
Watershed Urbanism and Low Impact Design

Afternoon

12:30-1:30 – Lunch

1:30-2:30

Panel 1: Water and Flooding
Moderator: Nick Fang

2:30-3:30

Panel 2: Nature and Real Estate
Moderator: Michael Zaretsky

3:30-4:00 – Coffee Break

4:00-5:00

Panel 3: Watershed Urbanism
Moderator: Meghna Tare

5:00-5:30 – Closing Remarks

5:30-7:00 – Reception

Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 9am
Closed Research Session by Request Only

PANEL

1.Water and Flooding,
Moderator: Nick Fang

Phil Bedient
Director, SSPEED Center, Rice UniversitY

Jerry Cotter
Head of Water Resources, FWD of US Army Corps of Engineers

Tim Dekker
President, LimnoTech

Edith Marvin
Director of Environment & Development, NCTCOG

John Nielsen-Gammon
State Climatologist, Texas A&M University

2.Nature and Real Estate,
Moderator: Michael Zaretsky

Paris Rutherford
Principal, Catalyst Urban Development, Dallas

Ben Sandifer
Naturalist, Dallas

Elizabeth Silver
Associate Principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in NYC

Karen Walz
Principal, Strategic Community Solutions

3.Watershed Urbanism,
Moderator: Meghna Tare

Diane Jones Allen
Program Director of Landscape Architecture and Associate Professor, UTA

Susan Alvarez
Assistant Director, Office of Environmental Quality & Sustainability, City of Dallas

Robert Kent
State Director-Texas, Trust for Public Land

Stephen Luoni
Director and Principal Designer, Community Design Center, University of Arkansas

Hope Rising
Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University

Kevin Sloan
Professor of Practice in Architecture, University of Texas at Arlington and Landscape Architect for Kevin Sloan Studio

DIRECTORS

Adrian Parr

Dean, College of Design
Senior Fellow, Design Futures Council
University of Oregon

Michael Zaretsky, AIA

Head, Department of Architecture
Associate Professor
School of Architecture and Environment
College of Design
University of Oregon

COORDINATING TEAM

Meghna Tare

Chief Sustainability Officer, University of Texas at Arlington

Kevin Sloan

Professor of Practice in Architecture, University of Texas at Arlington and Landscape Architect for Kevin Sloan Studio

Nick Fang

Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington

SPONSORS