Welcome to the IDEAS Center. We are a UNC Charlotte Research Center focused on accelerating change. Specifically, we seek to hasten the shift from unsustainable infrastructure, housing, and technology design to practices more attuned to the challenges of the 21st century.
Science informs us that the dual pressures of population increase and environmental quality decline require that we find new ways to create a built environment. Without such change, we risk losing the valuable ecosystem services that support human life. We believe that the onus for untangling the complex relationships between humans and their environment and inventing the next generation of appropriate technology rests, at least in part, with us -- the research community -- a group that understands that the challenges are weighty, that leadership is needed, and that we urgently need to generate solutions faster.
To accomplish our mission, we create dynamic and strategic project-specific research collaborations among university faculty. We recognize that sustainability principles require that we understand (i) the intricacies of natural systems; (ii) the new design criteria that sustainability principles bring to planning, design, construction, and integration of human systems; and (iii) the economic realities, human values and behavioral factors that underlie those systems. Our team of Faculty Fellows includes representatives from civil, mechanical, electrical and systems engineering; architecture, biology, business, chemistry, geography and earth science, psychology, public health, and sociology.
The IDEAS Center strives to promote a region-wide climate of cooperation to advance our goals. Our projects typically include community, industry, and academic entities. Finally, we are committed to tightly integrating our work with undergraduate and graduate education programs so that our graduates understand the challenges and can contribute to 21st century solutions and advances. Research topics we can address include earth systems and climate change; natural and engineered water systems; low impact materials and material reuse and recovery; building systems and community design; transport optimization; business, economic, policy and regulatory issues; system modeling and assessment; and international/transboundary issues related to sustainable development.