Towards improving the sustainability of urban infrastructures and groundwater usage in growing cities

Urban growth is often accompanied by land subsidence resulting from settlement, building load and the increase pressure put on water resources to satisfy water demand. 

 Land subsidence leads to fracturing of the ground and damage to infrastructure and, when taking place near rivers or coastal areas, it increases the occurrence of flooding. The goal of this project is to quantify the processes that create, influence and result from land subsidence, and develop a workflow to improve hazard mitigation plans and water resources management. Leaders of the project aim to achieve this by:

  • Conducting a remote sensing analysis of ground deformation in two cities Jakarta, Indonesia, and Buffalo, New York, and in one agricultural area near Hermosillo, Mexico.
  • Characterizing the associated flooding hazards by integrating environmental parameters.
  • Estimating the stress in the subsurface through a geotechnical analysis to evaluate how subsidence relates to the development of ground cracks and building vulnerability.
  • Quantifying groundwater well pumping rates through hydrological modeling of the observed deformation.
  • Identifying indicators of social vulnerability and developing a vulnerability assessment framework for subsidence and associated hazards.

The project’s principal investigator is Estelle Chaussard, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Geology. Co-principal investigators are Kallol Sett, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; and Zoé Hamstead, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.