ENV 960b () / 2024-2025

Urban Climate Solutions Capstone: New Haven Clinic

Credits: 3

Spring 2025: Time and location TBA


by Appliation: TBD

Cities contribute to about 70% of carbon emissions and are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. If we are to keep global warming to under 2 degrees C, cities must be part of the climate solution to reduce emissions. At the same time, cities must increase their resilience to climate change and develop strategies for adaptation to extreme climate events. Cities around the world are beginning to develop strategies to both mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions as well as adapt to climate change. 
In this capstone, students will work in teams to develop strategies to increase climate resilience and mitigate emissions for their client, the Office of Climate and Sustainability for the City of New Haven. Students will apply analytical skills, methods, and tools acquired from previous classes and work experience to develop strategies and potential programs for one of four projects:

  1. Assess the potential for geothermal energy production in New Haven. Are there locations in the city where it makes sense to develop geothermal energy production?  What are other communities doing in this space and what was the process for develop a geothermal grid?  How are communities getting organized around it? Who are the actors who need to be involved? For example: https://www.framinghamma.gov/3416/Geothermal-Pilot-Program


  1. Assess and develop forward looking strategies to mitigate extreme urban heat and other climate hazards such as flooding in the Hill and Dixwell neighborhoods.  Assess the public facilities for cooling stations and gathering places in case of natural disasters. Where should trees to planted to increase shade and cooling? What types of public space improvements could help to increase resilience to climate change hazards such as flooding?


  1. Identify opportunities for waste heat capture. Is there a way to make use of the waste heat from industrial or commercial sources in New Haven? How can the city utilize, store, and reduce waste heat? Can the sewer system be used a heat source and heat sink—displace heat in the summer and pull heat out in the winter?


  1. Assess opportunities to transform zoning to be more climate and people friendly. What and where are the services people want? Where can the city can increase co-location of uses, accessibility, and increase the density of housing and jobs?