Applied research for a sustainable city model

By Tony Cantú

(Discovery Magazine, Spring 2016 issue) -- It's not often university students see the impact of their academic work outside of the classroom in ways that benefit the community at large far beyond the campus boundaries. Usually, such impacts are seen post-graduation as freshly minted university graduates put the lessons they’ve learned into practice upon employment. Yet several UTSA professors from the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning are engaging students in projects exhibiting measurable impacts at city and count levels on myriad fronts. From efforts to save “living” historic districts from extinction to exhaustively tracking heritage tourism to mitigating pollutants in stormwater runoff, academic initiatives break down the abstraction of study with real-world practicality. From campus environs, an app is being developed enhancing housing searches specifically for a low-income segment of the population with exquisite detail – in addition to price range data, it includes proximity to schools, bus lines, grocery stores, parks, employers and other amenities – unavailable in similar applications. Another professor examines construction companies’ methods of delivery in securing building supplies, aimed at reducing carbon footprints while promoting use of sustainable materials. Municipal grants and staff support on such academic projects yields powerful testimony to the importance civic leaders place on university-originated projects.

For the article, visit UTSA’s Discovery Magazine. Projects by CACP researchers Dr. Sedef Doganer, Dr. Rebecca Walter, Dr. Azza Kamal, Dr. Suat Gunhan, and Prof. William Dupont are featured in the article. UTSA’s Discovery Magazine is published annually by the Office of the Vice President for Research. The magazine serves to highlight research, scholarship and creative achievement of faculty, staff, and alumni of UTSA. Read the full online edition of the Spring 2016 issue of Discovery here.