Kauneckis and students present at Water Resilient Cities conference

M.C. Tilton
May 5, 2016

Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Professor Derek Kauneckis, Master of Science in Environmental Studies candidate Alina Raulinaitis, and MSES graduate Jacqueline Kloepfer attended the “Water Resilient Cities” conference from April 21-22 at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

Kloepfer and Kauneckis presented a paper titled, “How do Great Lakes Cities Compare?  Patterns of climate resilience in regional water policy.”  Conference participants included local, state and federal agencies, consulting firms and community groups. 

Attendees participated in workshops on the economics of water, climate resiliency planning, water and the built environment, water-scapes and the city, governing the water commons, and policy tools to deals with algae blooms in the Great Lakes.  They also discussed the use of biomimicry, “one water” management, future proofing infrastructure, and transitions from the rustbelt to the bluebelt. 

Kloepfer said she attended the conference because of its unique emphasis on the Great Lakes. “It was really interesting to get a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ perspective of adaptation and management strategies in key sectors of water like water infrastructure systems and water as the basis of economic prosperity,” Kloepfer said. “I learned how the region relies heavily on the lakes and how climate change is affecting not only the health of the economy, but the health of the lakes and the people who reside there.”

Major speakers included Hillary Brown, American Institute of Architects fellow; Elizabeth Gibbons, Climate Center director at the University of Michigan; and John Austin, director of the Great Lakes Economic Initiative. 

The broad disciplines of the speakers and attendees gave Kloepfer hope for the future in her field. “I left the conference feeling inspired and optimistic about the industries, municipalities, planners, and researchers across the Great Lakes watershed,” she said. “They’re thinking about, planning for, and attempting to manage, the effects of climate change in a region containing 21 percent of the world’s fresh water.”