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Urban Landscapes. Urban integrated field laboratories focus on climate-sensitive and highly heterogeneous locations having uneven distribution of physical landforms and vegetation, environmental processes, the built environment and infrastructure, population density, and socioeconomic clustering in the urban landscape, particularly when that heterogeneity relates to impacts on disadvantaged communities.

Urban Integrated Field Laboratories (UIFLs) are a division-wide effort across BER’s Earth and Environmental Systems Sciences Division (EESSD) to advance the science underpinning our understanding of the predictability of urban systems and interactions with the climate system, and to provide the knowledge and information necessary to inform equitable climate and energy solutions that can strengthen community-scale resilience across urban landscapes.

UIFL research encompasses the interdependent environmental, ecological, infrastructure, and human components of urban systems. UIFLs must involve diverse scientific disciplines to develop comprehensive projects, including field observations, data assimilation, modeling, and model-data fusion, to inform equitable solutions based on state-of-the-art uncertainty quantification and data analytics.

UIFLs emphasize the basic sciences of climate, environmental, ecological, and urban change affecting heterogeneous urban regions, with a view toward informing sustainable, resilient, and equitable solutions. Research combines new observations with high-resolution and highly detailed urban modeling, where data generated by observations and models are used for scientific analysis. UIFLs provide opportunities to inspire, train, and support leading scientists from a variety of organizations, including minority-serving institutions (MSIs), who have an appreciation for the global climate and energy challenges of the 21st century. They tap the imagination and creativity of a diverse scientific and stakeholder community to address the fundamental questions of how urban systems work under the pressures of a dynamically changing climate and this new knowledge can be harnessed for some of our most critical real-world challenges.

UIFL research teams are comprised of diverse institutions, including DOE national laboratories, academic and nonprofit research institutions, other federal agencies, and private sector organizations. Because EESSD’s UIFL activity is intended to inform environmental justice and associated science underpinning equitable solutions, local organizations and MSIs have significant roles in each UIFL management team. UIFLs engage a diverse workforce to include the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities.

New Awards: Urban IFL Projects

Four UIFLs were awarded in fall 2022. These projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0002581: Urban Integrated Field Laboratories. Each UIFL represents different aspects of understanding urban systems, including diverse demographic characteristics, differing climate-induced pressures on people and infrastructures, and unique geographic and climatic settings.