Seminal conference to explore urban coastal sustainability

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By Angela Herring | Northeastern News | February 5, 2013

The majority of the world’s cities lie on a shore­line, and by 2020, two-​​thirds of all Amer­i­cans are expected to reside in coastal cities. From San Fran­cisco to Boston to Hong Kong, humans are living in ever-​​closer quar­ters with the marine species that set up shop here eons ago.

“We need to under­stand the inter­face between the human and nat­ural envi­ron­ment and deter­mine ways to solve prob­lems for both,” said Brian Hel­muth, a North­eastern pro­fessor of public policy and envi­ron­mental sci­ence.

To address those issues, Hel­muth and Geoff Trussell, chair of the Depart­ment of Marine and Envi­ron­mental Sci­ences and director of the Marine Sci­ence Center, are orga­nizing the Sus­taining Coastal Cities Con­fer­ence. The con­fer­ence will be hosted by the Col­lege of Sci­ence this spring and is the first of its kind, focusing on key issues in urban coastal sustainability. Read More

New journal explores urban climate change

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By Matt Collette | Northeastern News | December 11, 2012

Matthias Ruth, a pro­fessor with joint appoint­ments in the Col­lege of Engi­neering and the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, is the co-editor in chief of a new aca­d­emic journal that takes an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary look at the rela­tion­ship between urban dynamics and cli­mate change.

“We have long thought about changing the global cli­mate problem through global accords—which have had lim­ited suc­cess, at best—and with this journal we want to look back at what cities can do to change cli­mate on their own,” said Ruth, who is editing the journal with Alexander Bak­lanov of the Danish Mete­o­ro­log­ical Insti­tute in Copen­hagen, Den­mark. “Within our own envi­ron­ment, there is so much we can do to impact cli­mate, which is increas­ingly becoming a focus for cli­mate researchers.” Read More

An economics approach to sustainability

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By Matt Collette | Northeastern News | September 18, 2012

Matthias Ruth had long been inter­ested in envi­ron­mental issues but found it hard to use his own discipline—economics —as a tool to unite eco­nomic deci­sion making with indus­trial and urban con­straints. “Econ­o­mists are really good at devel­oping models of things that are traded in mar­kets, but a lot of things we value—like the environment—have no market and no price,” said Ruth, who is joining Northeastern’s fac­ulty this fall as a pro­fessor with joint appoint­ments in the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­tiesSchool of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the Col­lege of Engi­neering.
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