The city of Ingleside on the Bay, TX is working with a multi-disciplinary group of researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) to develop a low-cost sensor network that will monitor climate change effects. The co-principal investigators from UTA come from the fields of civil engineering; computer science and engineering; architecture, planning and public affairs, along with an expert in community informatics – the use of information and communication technologies in community development – from outside the university.
The city has seen environmental impacts on its community from higher tides, ship wakes, and air and water pollution caused by industrial growth. To study the situation, the team will create a low-cost sensor network to monitor air and water quality and flooding potential. The team has plans to hold a community meeting later this year to receive input from residents about where air and water quality stations and flood monitoring sensors should be located, based on local knowledge of hazards and vulnerabilities.
The ultimate goal of the project is to help the community collect, analyze, and leverage environmental data more effectively so residents can make more informed decisions. With this in mind, a part of the project will include the evaluation of the existing communication and information-sharing networks in the region. It is hoped that having a better understanding of how local organizations engage in environmental policymaking and permitting processes will help to strengthen and improve future advocacy efforts.
“By bringing together physical and social scientists and working directly with local residents and community groups to codesign our research approach, we can better address the complex challenges facing Ingleside on the Bay and work toward more sustainable, community-driven solutions,” Michelle Hummel, one of the investigators, said.