By Adam Rabinowitz
In October, Planet Texas 2050 unveiled six new flagship projects, which will guide our work in the coming years as we tackle the dual problems of demographic and climate change. Each quarter, we will highlight one of the six projects, continuing with one titled “Stories of Ancient Resilience.” Hear from project lead Adam Rabinowitz, associate professor in the Department of Classics, as he discusses the team’s ongoing work.
Through all eras of human history, communities have confronted stresses related to climate change that have affected how and where they live. Studying past societies helps us recognize the…
By Patrick Bixler and Paola Passalacqua
This month, Planet Texas 2050 unveiled six new flagship projects, which will guide our work in the coming years as we tackle the dual problems of demographic and climate change. Each quarter, we will highlight one of the six projects, starting with one titled “Networks for Hazard Preparedness and Response.” Hear from project leads Patrick Bixler, assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Paola Passalacqua, associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, as they discuss their ongoing work.
In the future, Texas is expected to face increasing…
A message from Heather Houser, outgoing Chair of Planet Texas 2050:
It is with some sadness but also pride that I bid farewell to the leadership team of Planet Texas 2050, a UT initiative that I helped found three and a half years ago with the aim of making Texas more resilient in the face of unprecedented demographic and climate change. As I say goodbye, I reflect on the lengths we have traveled since Dan Jaffe, then-Vice President for Research, convened us in February 2017 to propose this first Bridging Barriers Grand Challenge. …
By Mary Huber
Our dirty, smelly wastewater could hold something very valuable: the key to tracking COVID-19 hot spots in Austin before diagnostic testing is able to identify outbreaks.
The novel coronavirus is a fecally shed virus, which means its signature shows up in our waste. Because of this, University of Texas researchers are hoping they can track its spread by studying human feces.
Mary Jo Kirisits, an associate professor in UT’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, is leading a team that’s monitoring COVID-19 in Austin’s wastewater to identify upticks in cases before people show up with symptoms…
By Mary Huber
Frances Acuña has lived in the Dove Springs neighborhood in Southeast Austin for 23 years. She knows every place it floods when it rains — such as the intersection at Brassiewood Drive and Pleasant Valley Road, in the street along Turnstone Drive, and near the Nuckols Crossing Bridge that spans Williamson Creek.
The flooding is so bad, Acuña and her neighbors have had to put out bags of cement as barriers to keep the water from reaching into homes when it rains. They’ve barricaded roads to prevent cars from driving down streets, afraid they would push the…
What does it mean to greet one another in a time of crisis?
By Craig Campbell, Ph.D.
Craig Campbell, an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin, has been working for the last year to understand how individuals greet one another in times of crisis, particularly as our planet is wrecked by climate change and now a global pandemic. His project “Greeting Cards from the Anthropocene” encourages people to design greeting cards that address the climate crisis. …
Texas is no stranger to drought seasons.
Both the 1950s and 2010s saw long dry spells that threatened the way of life for people who call the state home.
However, these intense droughts could be nothing compared to what Texas may see in the future, new research published in the journal Earth’s Future finds.
Jay Banner, professor in UT’s Jackson School of Geosciences, and state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon warn of a future with more extreme drought and flooding as a result of climate change.
By the end of the 21st century, Texas droughts could compare to or exceed the 10-year…
The landscape along the U.S.-Mexico border has changed drastically over the past 150 years — from fencing to surveillance infrastructure to damming and hydraulic projects.
C.J. Alvarez, an assistant professor in UT’s Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, has examined those changes for years, in advance of publishing his book “Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the U.S.-Mexico Divide.”
Alvarez joined the podcast “Interstitial” to talk about these changes, detailing how the international divide has been altered over the years in an effort to control the movement of people, animals, goods and water.
This construction has…
By Mary Huber
When UT operations research and industrial engineering graduate student Kyoung Kim approached his professors in 2017 with an idea to use logistics to help with disaster planning, he had no idea the biggest disaster in a century would, in a few months, ravage the Texas coast.
That August, Hurricane Harvey dumped as much as 50 inches of rain on the eastern half of the state. Whole cities were under water, and many were without power and running water for days — escalating the need for the type of help that Kim had imagined.
His advisor, Associate Professor…
By Mary Huber
As Texas’s population is expected to nearly double in the next 30 years, Planet Texas 2050 grand challenge researchers find it important to understand what effect rapid urbanization will have on the natural environment.
Jay Banner, a professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences, has spent the past several years studying the evolution of Austin’s watersheds, tracing water as it moves from the Colorado River, to treatment plants and into people’s homes. Banner and his student research team found that some of that municipal water, including wastewater, is leaking into Austin’s rain-fed springs and streams. In fact…