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Sustainability Resilience Working Groups

Sustainability Resilience Working Groups

Sustainability Resilience Working Groups

Research Working Groups

City Comparisons Working Group (CCWG)

The CCWG comprises all city leads and other interested participants from the network. It is the foundational working group for bringing together the cities of the network, including their faculty and student researchers, practitioners, city data, and resilience strategies.


Implement a collaborative research structure that will ensure the coordination of data acquisition, establishment of the practitioner network, and development of comparative research projects across network cities.

Five-Year Goals

  1. Provide effective coordination for city team activities.
  2. Conduct outstanding research toward understanding the characteristics, opportunities, and barriers for urban systems resilience to extreme events. The coordination goal will be accomplished through the participation of city leads in the CCWG and their effective communication with one another; the research goal will begin with specific network-wide tasks but will grow as faculty, postdoctoral and graduate fellows, and other students join the network.


Goal 1:

  1. Develop climatological, hydrological, ecological, infrastructural, and socio-economic databases for network cities.
  2. Nurture local contacts with decision makers.
  3. Develop a repository of climate adaptation, resilience, vulnerability, and sustainability plans.

Goal 2:

  1. Conduct comparative research among cities. These specific objectives form the basis for planned activities of the city teams and the CCWG.

Climate & Hydrological Extremes Working Group (CHExWG)

CHExWG will develop future climate and extreme-event scenarios for each network city region.


Produce scenarios that will resonate with urban decision-makers because they specifically address the unique vulnerabilities of each city.

Five-Year Goal

Promote better urban planning through provision of realistic and city-tailored future scenarios of climate and hydrologic extremes.


Produce future scenarios of extreme climate and hydrologic events grounded on past conditions that have impacts on urban infrastructure.

Computation & Visualization Working Group (CVWG)


CVWG supports the work of the UREx SRN team to advance urban resilience to extreme weather events associated with climate change, by creating streamlined access to actionable information generated from data analytics and advanced computational methods including visualization, to increase participation by stakeholders in scientifically based, locally strategic and sustainably sound planning and development.


The CVWG has three broad goals:

  1. Identify key factors of urban resilience based on data collection across the range of urban infrastructures, climates (especially extreme events), hydrology, ecological services, and socio-economics.
  2. Compile, synthesize, and project data analyses among sites to illuminate comparisons and support hypothesis testing through scenarios
  3. Develop data driven visual references to improve understanding and lower barriers for communicating results among disciplines and to stakeholders.


Objectives over the five-year project include:

  1. Build a multi-city database and computation platform for model-data integration, scenario testing and model refinement.
  2. Ingest research and operational data to multi-city database.
  3. Produce communication/visualization/analytical outputs.
  4. Support development of data-driven participatory scenarios.

Scenarios Working Group (SWG)

The Scenario WG will develop scenarios through extensive stakeholder engagement and modeling approaches that explore alternative pathways for critical SETS infrastructure transitions in each city node.


Promote visionary thinking by city stakeholders, including policy-makers, planners, scientists, engineers, and city residents, through the development of desirable and plausible scenarios that analyze possible future pathways through which cities can achieve more resiliently designed infrastructures.


Explore two key innovations to the development of urban sustainability scenarios:

  1. Combining social science (knowledge-systems analysis) and dynamic modeling (agent-based modeling) techniques to explore and evaluate SETS scenarios.
  2. Integrating, and intentionally sequencing, multiple scenario approaches —including the exploration of desirable sustainable futures, participatory modeling to support stakeholder deliberation of the plausibility of these scenarios, and an assessment of the resiliency of the envisioned SETS scenarios to game-changers and extreme events.


Three objectives define the activities of years 1-5:

  1. Social network mapping of stakeholders, and their information/knowledge flows, affecting (or being affected) by city infrastructure planning and decision-making.
  2. Use an agent-based modeling (ABM) framework model to simulate future scenarios for hydrology, built infrastructure, natural habitat and biodiversity, access to resources and infrastructure, and human health and well-being.
  3. Develop desirable, plausible, and resilient scenarios through a participatory scenario development process.

The SWG has important connections to the CCWG and city teams in that they will be holding scenario workshops in each city throughout the project. In addition, training for Graduate Fellows (Education and Diversity WG) is afforded through participation in these workshops.

Social-Ecological-Technological Infrastructure Integration Working Group (SETs WG)

A transformation in our understanding of infrastructure and urban systems as coupled Social-Ecological-Technological Systems (SETS) is urgently needed to provide a pathway for comprehensive, multi-criteria assessment in the context of an uncertain and climate-constrained future.


The goals of the SETs Integration WG (SETs WG) are to transform our understanding of critical infrastructure specifically, and urban systems more broadly, through the following:

  1. The development of a novel conceptual framework that couples social, ecological, and technological systems (SETS)
  2. The development and deployment of a real-time SETS assessment protocol that enhances anticipatory capacity in design, adaptation and response infrastructure activities.

Transitions & Implementation Working Group (TIWG)

The cities selected for the UREx SRN are already in transition; they are dynamic, constantly changing, and already building capacities to transition towards more sustainable futures.


The Transitions WG is to help upgrade cities’ resilience and transitions processes through the development of existing and new knowledge systems, policy spaces, and peer learning platforms that support inclusive future thinking and creation of strategies to overcome social and institutional barriers and move towards preferred future scenarios.


The TIWG has three specific objectives:

  1. Map the conditions for transitions and innovations in urban infrastructure systems.
  2. Enable the development of novel adaptation pathways and innovative strategies with on-the-ground work in UREx cities.
  3. Develop a Community of Practice for UREx SRN city practitioners and partners and accelerate peer learning on urban transitions.

The TIWG has developed specific protocols for stakeholder engagement, includes in its leadership the Director of the Alliance for Innovation, a network of cities undertaking transitions work, and has responsibility for working with city teams and their practitioner teams to form the practitioner network.

Network Evaluation Working Group (NEWG)

The NEWG is responsible for evaluating all facets of the UREx SRN (except education, outreach, and diversity components, which will be assessed by external evaluators). NEWG will conduct a three-pronged evaluation of project implementation and outcomes.


  • Promote organizational learning and adaptive management of UREx SRN research activities
  • Evaluate impact of UREx activities and research output in network cities
  • Contribute to understanding how transdisciplinary sustainability research can be organized and advance science policy and practice.


The Network’s activities will address the objectives of:

  1. Ongoing monitoring, formative and summative evaluation.
  2. Outcome and impact evaluation.
  3. Research network analysis.

Education & Diversity Working Group (EDWG)


The Mission of the EDWG is to provide an environment and programs in which diverse people (in terms of career stage, sector, ethnicity, culture) may collaboratively learn about the impacts of extreme events on urban areas and how to promote the resilience of urban SETS infrastructure.