Environmentally Resilient, Resource-Efficient Land Use Cohort

Assistant Professor in Utility Analytics for Sustainable Planning

Land development decisions and their impacts on water and energy resources are critical to the resiliency and sustainability of Florida's urban, agricultural, and natural systems, and impact almost every UF/IFAS program. The goal of this cohort is to support research, extension, and teaching efforts to develop/adopt a systems approach to land use decision-making and management practices with the purpose of preserving Florida's water, energy, environmental, and financial resources. Simply stated, the focus of this cohort is on the systemic inter-connections between Florida's resources and land use decisions. The goal for this interdisciplinary cohort is to develop quantitatively-based analytical tools for practical application in land use decision-making in new developments as well as in the redevelopment of existing communities. The objective for the cohort is to measurably reduce the impacts of developments on Florida's resources. This cohort will draw upon the strengths of several different departments and address resource conservation in planning new developments and retrofitting existing communities, redeveloping existing communities, as well as understanding and maximizing efficiency in existing communities.

Description, Duties and Responsibilties

This 12-month tenure-accruing position is 60% research (Florida Agricultural Experiment Station) and 40% extension (Florida Cooperative Extension Service) at the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) with a joint appointment in the Program for Resource Efficient Communities (PREC) and the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology (CLCE), within the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida with tenure accruing in ABE. This assignment may change in accordance with the needs of the unit. Duties will include developing active, successful, nationally recognized and externally funded research and extension programs in the area of utility analytics applied to land use, water and energy. As part of the Cooperative Extension duties this faculty will work with water/energy utilities, property appraisers, land development professionals, regulators, policy-makers and others to develop data sets, statistical tools and protocols for direct evaluation of water, energy and other resource consumption patterns associated with diverse land development ranging from the lot level to full communities. Florida's land development codes and regulations have often developed in response to crises; such as severe wind and flood impacts that may have unrecognized long-term effects such as facilitating recurrent development in disaster prone areas. Growing concerns over available water resources and water quality impacts associated with development practices, landscape choice and management need to be evaluated in a larger context. Emerging strategies with the intent to reduce resource consumption must be quantitatively assessed to verify that these strategies are not only technically applicable, but also socially acceptable and being utilized in a manner to optimize benefit. Standard requirements that define development practices are also driven by backward-looking financial models that make assumptions about the cost to comply with requirements and deliver product priced to be profitable to the developer but may not consider long-term management cost to the homeowner or society in the future. The successful candidate will conduct research to analyze big data sets and develop quantitative models/tools to measure and project land development impacts on water and other resources; will apply tools to evaluate impacts and resiliency of specific land use design and management proposals; will develop an extension program to inform public policies and will work with real proposed projects to evaluate strategic risks to financial models. It is also expected that the faculty will teach one undergraduate course per year focused on extension applications of this program.

This position is one of four in a cohort that will address issues related to environmentally resilient, resource efficient land use. These include expertise in: 1) This position; 2) Geographical information systems and remote sensing applied to the urban environment; 3) Urban water resource engineering; and 4) Urban soil and water quality. These four faculty members will have unique opportunities for developing interdisciplinary, collaborative projects and partnerships with faculty in CLCE and PREC as well as in the UF Informatics Institute, UF Water Institute, Florida Climate Institute, Center for Public Issues Education, and other interdisciplinary programs at the University of Florida. The purpose of this cohort is to assemble a core group of faculty who will develop proactive programs and scholarly approaches to support desirable changes in Florida communities. All four new faculty will work collaboratively to understand and affect the many facets of current and future issues related to sustaining Florida's land, water, energy and other natural resources. All of these positions include Extension appointments that will actively engage the new faculty with county extension faculty, state and local government, nonprofits at every level, and business leaders as they conduct educational programs focused on solutions in Florida communities. Scholarly publications that test theories or determine variables that account for success would be expected.

Because of the IFAS land-grant mission, all faculty are expected to be supportive of and engaged in all three mission areas—Research, Teaching and Extension—regardless of the assignment split specified in the position description.