The Urban Collaboratory’s work in Benton Harbor focuses on improving transit and water supply systems.
Benton Harbor, Michigan, is located in the Southwest corner of the state near the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
The Urban Collaboratory is currently involved with a series of projects in Benton Harbor focused on transit, mobility, and water. These projects range from assessing the impact of improved public transportation on employment to upgrading water supply management systems. Given the manageable size of the Benton Harbor and its population, the city presents a unique opportunity for University of Michigan researchers to affect positive change.
"On behalf of the City of Benton Harbor and Greater Southwest Michigan we are pleased to partner with the University of Michigan to positively impact our transportation system. It is exceedingly important for me as the Mayor of the City of Benton Harbor to be on the cutting edge of technology as it relates to mobility and the future of transportation. This collaboration with the University of Michigan is the first step in this great journey."
Mayor of Benton Harbor
“Benton Harbor is grateful to have the University of Michigan Urban Collaboratory working with us on Transportation and other issues. We already see progress and are encouraged by their involvement and willingness to help.”
Director of Economic Development, Benton Harbor
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.
Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Michigan Society Fellow, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Tierra Bills is an Assistant Professor and Michigan Society Fellow in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. She joined the University of Michigan in 2016 after spending 3 years as a Research Scientist at IBM Research Africa. Much of Dr. Bills’ current research focuses on investigating the social impacts of transportation projects. She develops activity-based travel-demand models to investigate individual and household-level transportation-equity effects, for the purpose of designing transportation systems that will provide more equitable returns to society. Her latest project aims to improve the ability to represent the distinct travel needs of transport disadvantaged communities in Benton Harbor, Michigan, using mixed modes of sampling and travel data collection. Previously, her work focused on leveraging emerging data sources for various travel modeling applications.
Dr. Bills research interests generally include discrete choice analysis and behavioral modeling, transportation planning, and emerging data sources in transportation modeling. Dr. Bills holds a B.S in Civil Engineering Technology from Florida A&M University (‘08), and M.S (’09) and PhD (’13) degrees in Transportation Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Professor, Environmental and Water Resources
Dr. Daigger is currently Professor of Engineering Practice at the University of Michigan and President and Founder of One Water Solutions, LLC, a water engineering and innovation firm. He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for CH2M HILL where he was employed for 35 years, as well as Professor and Chair of Environmental Systems Engineering at Clemson University. Actively engaged in the water profession through major projects, and as author or co-author of more than 100 technical papers, four books, and several technical manuals, he contributes to significantly advance practice within the water profession. He has advised many of the major cites of the world, including New York, Los Angles, San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Beijing, and is currently a member of the Asian Development Bank Water Advisory Group. Deeply involved in professional activities, he is currently co-Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), and a Past President of the International Water Association (IWA). The recipient of numerous awards, including the Kappe, Freese, and Feng lectures and the Harrison Prescott Eddy, Morgan, and the Gascoigne Awards, he is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a Distinguished Fellow of IWA, and a Fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). A member of a number of professional societies, Dr. Daigger is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineers.
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Neda Masoud is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Michigan. She is the director of Next Generation Mobility Systems Lab, where she and her research group study innovative shared-use mobility solutions and their integration into the current transportation system. Dr. Masoud holds a Ph.D degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of California Irvine, an MS degree in Physics from University of Massachusetts, and a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Sharif University of Technology.
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Avery H. Demond is a professor in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the University of Michigan. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Williams College (Williamstown, MA) (1977), a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1980 and 1982), and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University (1988). She was instrumental in developing the BSE in Environmental Engineering degree program at UM and currently serves as its chair.
Dr. Demond’s research is in the area of hazardous waste and the rehabilitation of contaminated industrial properties; she has published on a variety of topics including the effect of contamination on soil transport properties, the leaching of contaminants from aging infrastructure into the water supply, and the impact of historic soil contamination on human health. She served as a coordinator of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Subsurface Science Program’s Multiphase Fluid Flow Subprogram for five years. Furthermore, she has served on a number of National Research Council boards and committees, including the Board on Engineering Education and the Committee for the Review of the DOE Environmental Restoration Priority System. She has received numerous awards for her service. She is a professional engineer, licensed in the State of Michigan.
Associate Professor, Industrial & Operations Engineering
Industrial and Operations Engineering Graduate Program Advisor
Seth Guikema is an Associate Professor in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan with a joint appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is also a Professor II at the University of Stavanger (Norway) in Societal Safety and Risk Management as well as a Data Science Research Fellow at One Concern, Inc. He is the President Elect of the Society for Risk Analysis (2019) and will serve as President of SRA in 2020. His research is grounded in risk analysis, predictive data analytics, and complex systems modeling and analysis. While much of his research focuses on natural hazards impacting communities and infrastructure, he also works on modeling and better understanding the effects of repeated hazards on communities and how they evolve over time, modeling issues of equity in urban areas, climate resilience of small-holder farmers in Ethiopia, terrorism risk analysis, and human trafficking.
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.