Penn IUR partners with the Wharton GIS Lab on a research collaborative, the Spatial Integration Laboratory for Urban Systems (SILUS), to study ecological, environmental, and socioeconomic issues involved in urban and regional development. Funded through the U.S. Geological Survey, and established in 2004, the project’s stated mission is to promote greater understanding of urban and regional land-use development patterns as they evolve over space and time and the implications for ecosystem services.
In 2012-2013, the project explored advancing green infrastructure in urban places through “Urban Ecosystem Services and Decision Making: A Green Philadelphia,” a symposium that focused on initiatives undertaken in Philadelphia and associated regional and national partnerships. The symposium, funded by a USGS grant, brought together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to advance a research agenda around the use of science in public decision-making as well as around investment in green infrastructure and ecosystem services in urban areas.
Penn IUR’s past projects related to urban ecosystem services have included a conference on water sustainability, titled Clean Water America Alliance’s Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference, and co-sponsored with the Mayors’ Institute on City Design. The conference, held in December 2010, gathered local and national experts for a discussion on how water will play a role in cities in the coming decades, and how America’s urban centers can plan for better water management.