The Urban Collaboratory’s work in Ann Arbor largely focuses on water issues.
Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan’s largest campus, is located in Southeast Michigan, just a few miles from Ypsilanti, Michigan, and about a 40-minute drive to Detroit.
The proximity to the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus allows for researchers at the University of Michigan to engage in the very communities where they live, work, and play. The Huron River runs through Ann Arbor’s center, providing opportunities for residents and visitors alike to swim, fish, float, and enjoy the water. However, the proximity of the city to the river also comes with its challenges. The Urban Collaboratory is involved in several projects in the Ann Arbor area, primarily focused on water issues.
“This project exemplifies the types of partnerships that the City seeks with research organizations such as the University of Michigan. We are able to leverage the knowledge and experience of our University partners to explore an emerging issue with results that benefit both the water community as a whole and our customers.”
Water Treatment Services at City of Ann Arbor
Borchardt and Glysson Collegiate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Nancy G. Love is the Borchardt and Glysson Collegiate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. She previously served as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and as Associate Dean in the University of Michigan’s Rackham School of Graduate Studies. She previously taught at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Love’s research interests include water quality and environmental biotechnology. Specifically, she studies the fate of toxins and pharmaceuticals in wastewater, as well as the technologies that can be used to remove these chemical stressors.
Dr. Love holds a PhD in Environmental Systems Engineering from Clemson University (1994) and both a Masters of Science (1986) and a Bachelors of Science (1984) in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Assistant Professor of Urban Planning
Robert Goodspeed, PhD, AICP, is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. His research interest is in the use of new technology to improve the planning process, and involves mixed-methods studies of innovative urban planning practice, the use of GIS to develop novel methods and measurements, and theoretical analysis of sociotechnical practices like crowdfunding and smart cities. As a result of his scholarly and applied work in this area, he was named a Leading Thinker in Urban Planning and Technology by the website Planetizen. He teaches graduate courses in geographic information systems (GIS), collaborative planning, and scenario planning. He holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.C.P. from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in history with high honors and high distinction from the University of Michigan. His dissertation, which examined the use of planning support systems in spatial planning, received the 2013 Donald Schön Award for Excellence in Learning from Practice from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Prior to pursuing a Ph.D., Goodspeed worked as a research analyst at the Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council, where he was involved in planning-related mapping, data analysis, and community indicators projects.
Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Branko Kerkez an assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of Michigan. His research interests include water, data, and sensors. He heads the Real-time Water Systems Lab, where his group is presently conducting fundamental research on “smart” water systems. Dr. Kerkez is the founder of Open-Storm.org, an open source consortium dedicated to freely sharing technologies and lessons for the sensing and control of water systems. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, all from UC Berkeley.
Altarum/ERIM Russell O'Neal Professor of Engineering
Professor Lutgarde Raskin is the Altarum/ERIM Russell O’Neal Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan, where she has been a professor of Environmental Engineering since 2005. Before this, she was a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for 12 years. She received a BS/MS degree in Bioscience Engineering and a BS/MS degree in Economics from the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium). Her PhD degree is in Environmental Engineering from UIUC. Raskin is globally recognized as an expert in microbial aspects of anaerobic waste treatment and drinking water treatment technologies.
Professor Raskin has a strong service record. She co-organized the 2013 IWA Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering (MEWE) conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She currently serves on the Leadership Committees of the IWA Anaerobic Digestion and MEWE Specialist Groups. She has served on the Program Committees for numerous IWA’s Specialist Group Conferences, including the Anaerobic Digestion, Biofilm, and Leading Edge Technology Conferences. She is an Associate Editor for Environmental Science & Technology and serves on the Editorial Board/Advisory Board of five other journals. She has served on various committees of other professional societies, including the AEESP, for which she currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Founder, Rich Earth Institute
Abraham Noe-Hays is a co-founder of the Rich Earth Institute, and currently directs its research into nutrient reclamation from source-separated human urine. The Institute operates the nation’s first community-scale urine recycling program in Brattleboro, Vermont, collecting urine from approximately one hundred participants and supplying sanitized fertilizer products to nearby farms. Current research projects are supported by the USDA and NSF, and include an INFEWS partnership with the University of Michigan that is developing novel methods for producing urine-derived fertilizers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic.
Director, Michigan Sustainability Cases
Coordinator, Environmental Justice Certificate
Professor Hardin’s areas of interest and scientific study focus on the increasingly intertwined practices of health, environmental management, and corporate/community interactions in Africa and the U.S.A. She has directed case based research on environmental justice movements within the U.S., connecting them to the international Environmental Justice Atlas. She has also advised a team assessing groundwater and surface water resources across the African continent, and advising the Global Environment and Technology Foundation about how to make a better business case for water related investment by businesses in Africa. She teaches and mentors students interested in international environmental practice and policy, wildlife management, and the cultural politics of global health practice, especially as concerns water quality monitoring and protection. That work is presently focused with the REFRESCH initiative in the country of Gabon, one of the richest in water and wildlife on the entire African continent. She is building case based curricular tools for international Sustainability Science as Director of the Michigan Sustainability Cases, hosted on the open access Gala Platform. Rebecca also supports co-curricular opportunities for student work in environmental media such as the weekly environmental podcast and “blogcast” It’s Hot in Here, airing at noon on Fridays on WCBN FM Ann Arbor. Her book with Kamari Clarke, Transforming Ethnographic Knowledge explores the discipline of anthropology as a set of skills and tools for social change in sectors as different as business, biological conservation, conflict resolution, and biomedical care.
Director of Graduate Studies in Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry
Diana Aga, Henry M. Woodburn Professor of Chemistry at the University at Buffalo (UB), received her BS in Agricultural Chemistry degree from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños in 1988, and her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry degree from Kansas University (KU) in 1995. She subsequently moved to Zurich, Switzerland in 1996 to conduct postdoctoral research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG). Dr. Aga is a professor in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry at UB, with expertise in the development of sensitive analytical methods for the detection of chemical contaminants in the environment. Her research program centers on investigating the environmental chemistry, biological and ecological effects, and mitigation strategies of legacy and emerging contaminants in the environment, such as antimicrobials, persistent organic pollutants, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and engineered nanomaterials. Dr. Aga’s recent work showing bioaccumulation of antidepressants in brains of fish from the Great Lakes has been highlighted in the national and international newspapers because of their impact on the biodiversity of fish population in one of the world’s most important fresh water body. Dr. Aga has also demonstrated the widespread occurrence of antibiotics in the environment due to wastewater discharges and land-application of animal manure, resulting in promotion and spread of antibiotic resistance in non-clinical environments. She serves as editor of the Journal of Hazardous Materials, an Elsevier international journal, which publishes research papers on environmental control, risk assessment, impact and management.
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Krista Rule Wigginton received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech and her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Idaho and conducted postdoctoral research at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2013, she joined the faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor of environmental engineering. Dr. Wigginton’s research team focuses on pollutant fate in water treatment processes, and on improving pathogen and micropollutant detection. She’s the recipient of the U.S. NSF International Postdoctoral Fellowship and the NSF CAREER award.